Cohesity is leveraging its employees in order to foster an inclusive work environment.
By Amy Cappellanti-Wolf
At Cohesity, we believe innovation is born in environments that are representative of diverse people from different cultures, geographies, and backgrounds. A key factor in the company’s recent successful DEI transformation is its DEI council, made up of a diverse group of global employees, representing all departments.
Since its launch in October 2021, the DEI council continues to propel Cohesity forward in terms of educating employees. Of course, awareness alone won’t drive action or change. It’s building awareness that will also ensure all employees understand that hiring a diverse workforce, giving all employees equitable opportunities, and fostering an inclusive workplace are the right things to do for the company, making us more competitive in the market.
Three Work Streams to Drive Action
The DEI council has become a pillar of the business, and communicating progress helps get more and more employees involved in these efforts every day. And to help balance and formalize objectives, the council is focused on three work streams with executive sponsorship and each with its own purpose.
1. Workforce. This group is focused on uncovering ways to avoid bias in our hiring practices, ensuring that we’re continuously evolving and expanding our recruiting and hiring practices so that diverse candidates are able to see themselves working at Cohesity.
2. Workplace. This team is all about fostering an inclusive work environment where people are truly recognized and valued as individuals. The group is thoughtful about celebrating diversity and ensuring the company has productive employee resource groups (ERGs) and development programs and benefits offerings that help attract and retain the diverse workforce.
3. Marketplace. This work stream proactively seeks diversity in external partnerships and helps to ensure that Cohesity has a positive impact within the community. For example, members of this group recommended to the DEI council that the company sponsor the Silicon Valley Pride Parade and AfroTech, amongst other community outreach initiatives.
The Value of ERGs
The DEI council is also largely responsible for facilitating the company’s employee resource groups (ERGs). Employees have expressed that it is extremely important to have a connection point that can help them build a community with like-minded cohorts across the business. In hybrid and remote work environments especially, employees are looking to connect with colleagues who share similar values and perspectives.
ERGs foster an inclusive workplace, enhance the employee experience, promote cultural awareness, and improve company innovation. When employees are in a safe space, they feel accepted. They feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. They know their company values their input, so they share it. The groups foster a sense of belonging, inspire conversation, bring new ways to look at issues, and ultimately, drive innovation.
Cohesity’s five ERGs include the following.
- Black Cohesity Network (BCN). BCN is a safe space for African Americans at Cohesity to discuss issues and challenges, and sponsor awareness events across the company. This ERG is also used to identify Black talent, recruit Black talent, and provide mentorship to Black employees.
- Women’s Impact Network (WIN). WIN is a global group of women and allies at Cohesity. In addition to celebrating unique differences, WIN is dedicated to hiring, developing, and retaining female talent across the organization. WIN members value collaboration, connection, and professional growth while creating a safe space where all women can succeed.
- THRIVE. Cohesity’s newest ERG aims to promote health, happiness, and wellness. THRIVE focuses on improving awareness of mental wellness resources and providing learning opportunities to enhance the overall well-being of employees.
- Unidos Network. Unidos Network is a collaborative group that is dedicated to building a supportive environment and uplifting Latinx colleagues through networking opportunities and professional development. The group authentically discusses diverse topics and advocates for changes that establish a sense of belonging.
- Be You. Be You helps embrace and support LGBTQ+ employees and their allies. This ERG has two key goals–one is to ensure employees who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or non-binary are comfortable bringing their whole selves to work each day, and the other helps foster psychological safety for LGBTQ+ employees.
These ERGs are open to all employees, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity because creating and fostering a culture of belonging is about encouraging all employees to be allies. An ally acts for others in pursuit of ending some type of discrimination or oppression. ERGs educate allies about the real struggles in the corporate world and help to shed light on what allies can do to help contribute to the solution.
The company is on a mission to embed DEI into everything it does. Results from engagement surveys reveal that employees authentically believe in Cohesity’s pursuit of creating a sense of belonging, and that’s because they see the actions of leadership. They see and experience the support and the effort poured into the DEI council, the ERGs, and the communities. People from diverse backgrounds are attracted to work at Cohesity because they’ll have an equitable candidate experience and will find themselves in an organization where they want to stay.
Amy Cappellanti-Wolf is chief human resources officer at Cohesity.