In October 2021, Credera’s Chief Diversity Officer Nickoria Johnson was invited to join the Houston DiverseCity Summit, an event hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership. The summit aimed to bring leaders from public and private sectors and across the 12-county Houston region together to advance equity and inclusion in the greater Houston region.
The Summit's focus was on providing "content for companies and organizations of all sizes with a focus on best practices, peer connection, and first-rate resources to help mature [a company's] diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies."
Nickoria spoke on a panel discussion titled “Navigating the New Normal: Developing Trust and Transparency.” This discussion explored how to create an inclusive environment and increase employee loyalty and organizational resilience. The panel was moderated by Peter Beard, senior vice president of regional workforce development at the Greater Houston Partnership. The panelists joining Nickoria Johnson were Gina Coleman, senior vice president of diversity and inclusion at PNC, and Dr. Yuri Ramirez, director of the global engagement program office at Intel.
As Credera continues to grow on our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) journey, we’re passionate about sharing what we’ve learned and giving back to those who are part of the communities in which we serve. Here are a few of the key discussions and takeaways from the Summit.
Discussions at DiverseCity
Focus 1: Build Employee Engagement
Nickoria began by answering what she believed to be an essential strategy to building trust among employees. She explained that because of the Great Resignation, it is vital to tackle how to have an inclusive, exciting, and transparent workplace to keep employees engaged. To honor the importance of transparency with the Gen Z population, she noted that "[Credera] offers weekly update videos, establishes coffee chats for connection, and publicly shares our DE&I information to hold ourselves accountable."
Focus 2: Create Structures
When asked, “What is one action to implement that will improve DE&I for company leaders or improve the culture of the company,” Nickoria discussed the value of taking a strategic look at your current DE&I efforts to create a formal structure.
For example, she shared Credera's five DE&I Pillars (i.e., recruiting, retention, strategy, learning and development, and marketing) that we continuously measure and communicate our progress against. She noted that when you align your vision, planning, action, and funding with your DE&I structure, it allows others to easily follow your DE&I journey and give support.
Focus 3: Provide Community and Flexible Work
Next, Nickoria was asked, “How has Credera adjusted our internal practices and policies to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, specifically the Black and Indigenous communities?”
Nickoria introduced our Flexible Connection model, which outlines "that people can define how they can best show up for work," whether that be at home, on the road, or in a different location all together.
She also shared about the important support systems our employee resource groups (ERGs) offer. Each provides support and creates mentoring programs that provide a connection point when an employee needs to speak with someone from their own community.
Lastly, another continual initiative we prioritize is partnering with our career coaches to help these leaders understand the need to coach and check in with the holistic person and not just the work person.
Focus 4: Start at the Top
The panelists then began addressing the role that leadership plays to drive the culture.
"We are looking for our leaders to take individual responsibility for the ways they can support inclusion," Nickoria said. She added that we provide training opportunities in unconscious bias and inclusive leadership to help meet people where they are and encourage them to grow.
To explore this topic further, Nickoria shared how Credera has examined our internal policies, practices, and procedures that inadvertently perpetuate unequal opportunity and equity in the workplace. Credera has taken a closer look at our biases within our recruiting, interviewing, and hiring practices (i.e., analyzing the matriculation data of diverse candidates through our hiring practices for trends of potential bias) and is working to remove those biases from those systematic processes.
Additionally, we have conducted a pay equity assessment and evaluated our pay across all the factors of diversity to ensure we are equitable and fair. Right now that means looking at promotion equity, the time and trends of being promoted. We are working to break the mindset of what 'showing up and looking professional' may be for ourselves and with our clients.
Finally, Nickoria said, "At Credera, our Community Impact team has chosen to focus on women and girls in STEM." She added that we are working to find more Black and LatinX tech professionals. Though it may require more effort, we are dedicated to understanding how we can identify those professionals, to equip and grow emerging professionals to invest in our community.
Best Practices for Growing in Your DE&I Initiatives
To sum things up, Nickoria shared her biggest lesson thus far: "You really have to meet people where they are in this journey. … Focusing on education is important and providing opportunities for personal growth through connection.”
She expressed that the more diverse your friend groups are, the more you humanize other people rather than believing only what you may see in the media or learned from your upbringing.
Lastly, she encouraged us all to remember that DE&I work can be fun. It’s enjoyable to celebrate different cultures through listening, learning, and integrating new experiences, which can lead to changed hearts.
Working at Credera
At Credera, we have a culture that values the many unique perspectives, backgrounds, and histories our employees represent. If you’re interested in a career at Credera and beginning your journey, please visit our careers page.
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Wellbeing
- Chief Diversity Officer
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Diversity And Inclusion
- Great Leaders