In mid-2020, Nuxeo empowered a group of employees to address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) within the organization following the murder of George Floyd. However, Nuxeo’s DE&I Taskforce has the complex challenge of addressing these topics in an international organization with differing cultural perspectives and priorities. Many DE&I resources are US-centric, and early on they struggled to build consensus amongst colleagues that their work had relevance outside of the United States.
So as Emilio Javier, Global HR Leader at Nuxeo, assembled the taskforce, he invited members from all areas of the organization and every country that Nuxeo operates in. He wanted to ensure that the taskforce’s work was embedded in local, cultural context. Everyone he invited had been involved in previous conversations or activities, but some had concerns about the work in front of them. “When Emilio approached me, I wasn’t sure if I could do this, if I could represent everyone,” says Ana Rosa, an Office Manager based out of Portugal. “Being a taskforce is not something easy! We are not here to share our personal opinions and visions, we are here to represent others, and we are here to protect and defend people who are in less privileged situations. It is a lot of responsibility.”
Initially, the taskforce developed a survey and held focus groups in each country to gain insight into their colleagues’ understanding of diversity and what they considered to be good initiatives for the taskforce to work on. Melinda Cormier, VP of Corporate Marketing from the US says it was eye opening for her to learn about the difference in priorities between countries.
For example, we got a lot of feedback from the UK that gender equality was really important when it came to pay and time off and things like that, whereas in the US it was the third or fourth topic down.”
In spite of some skepticism, participation in the survey and focus groups was very high, and has informed all of the taskforce’s initiatives in the last year, including a charitable matching program which matched over $10,000 in employee donations during the first quarter after launch, a book club, lunch and learns, and Nuxeo’s #thisisme series.
Most of the taskforce’s work has been focused on developing a shared understanding of the importance of inclusion across all of Nuxeo. “The goal of the taskforce is not to be alone. A taskforce alone is nothing,” says Jean-Luc Luczak, who is an EMEA Professional Services Director based out of France.
What is really important for diversity is clearly seeding the ideas inside of our colleagues.
For Jean-Luc, his personal experience of being bullied as a child for not being French made him conscious of creating safe, inclusive spaces for others, long before his involvement on the taskforce. Now, he is working to help his French colleagues become more comfortable with these conversations.
Though everyone agrees that people who work at Nuxeo were already respectful and empathetic, they see how the book club and other initiatives are helping their colleagues share experiences and feel empowered to advocate for themselves around topics that formally felt scary or taboo. Early on Monique Ruggiero, Senior Solutions Consultant based in the UK, says that a handful of people who participate in most events showed up for taskforce activities.
As we went on, I noticed there are more and more people participating in these calls and open sessions. Even some people who were more hesitant are keen to understand what is going on and joining things.
Monique reflects that conversations around DE&I are a unique opportunity for people to connect on a topic other than assigned work, and creating opportunities for people who don’t usually work together to develop relationships. Ultimately, she believes those conversations are driving the change in perspectives from people who were formerly hesitant about the taskforce’s purpose.
As they discuss additional ways to build on Nuxeo’s culture of inclusivity, the taskforce is looking forward to providing more specific education and taking conversations to the next level in their second year. For now, Emilio is encouraged by the progress being made, and excited for what’s next as the team partners with their new colleagues at Hyland.
Really the goal is not only for us to continue learning about each other, but this work also becomes a personal challenge to learn more about yourself.