How We Are Making Diversity & Inclusion Part of Our Company’s Culture
By Holly Blunkall and Shannon McFarland, Co-chairs, Compass One Healthcare’s Diversity & Inclusion Action Council
Pictured left to right: Holly Blunkall, Regional Nutrition & Foodservice Support Director and DIAC Co-chair, and Shannon McFarland, Director of Field Learning and DIAC Co-chair
For the two of us, diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than just a business imperative. It is part of our environment and culture.
As co-chairs of the Diversity and Inclusion Action Council (DIAC), we are working every day to promote inclusion. We do this by empowering everyone to create exceptional experiences for our patients, guests, and coworkers. Associates embracing these values are change agents that make us a unique company. Here’s a great example:
Amanda Kruk, a Resident Regional Manager for Crothall Healthcare, worked closely with Premier Health’s Diversity and Inclusion Council to advocate for equity among all associates at the large southern Ohio health system. Amanda’s presence on Premier’s council was so well received that it ultimately led to Crothall and Compass gaining additional business from Premier. “My passion is to be the voice of change,” said Amanda. “The smallest steps can make the biggest impacts, and at the end of the day, I want to be sure that we all had a chance to leave our impact.”
Our commitment is also receiving national recognition, such as inclusion as one of Forbes’ magazine’s “Best Employers for Diversity.” It’s another indication that others see our company as one that values the different perspectives of our associates. In turn, these perspectives strengthen the quality of our work and the services we provide for clients and customers.
The DIAC council consists of up to 25 senior leaders. To make our program special, these leaders have taken several actions over the past year. Here’s what they did and the results:
A Resurgent Inclusion Ambassador program. In the past nine months, we have recruited and grown to have 150 Inclusion Ambassadors – a 240 percent growth in eight months. After nationwide unrest last summer, the Compass One Healthcare DIAC team saw an opportunity to reignite our program and reach out to all associates. Following a pilot program where 36 new Inclusion Ambassadors were recruited from two regions, we decided to expand it nationally.
In addition, we changed the nomination format for Ambassadors. Any associate can now apply directly instead of needing to be nominated by a Regional Vice President or Director of Operations. This change quickly opened up the nomination process, extending our reach throughout the Compass One organization. The Ambassadors communicate with our DIAC team for roughly 2 hours each month, sharing ideas, opportunities, and letting us know how the program is resonating with all associates.
Monthly Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) Toolkits. Every month we distribute these kits to celebrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in our community. Each toolkit helps to educate and provide insight on a wide variety of heritage and cultural themes, such as Ramadan, International Women’s Day, Pride Month, and a variety of other DEIB topics. In addition to raising awareness about the history and meaning of various cultures, these toolkits support all associates by showing we have an inclusive, respectful, and diverse workplace.
Sharing Our Values with Clients. Compass managers throughout the nation are using our resources to work with hospitals to promote communities. Deidra Rischmuller, Patient Experience Manager at Atrium Health in North Carolina, has shared our monthly toolkits with the hospital’s D&I committee and helps its staff assemble monthly feature boards and events.
“The hospital’s D&I committee appreciates how they can leverage our resources to help bring awareness to diversity and inclusion throughout their organization,” she says.
Increased Communications Among Associates. Associates are responding by sharing their stories and engaging in online conversations. Using the Nudge communications app, we are spreading the word by engaging associates in important conversations and creating activities on a wide range of topics.
The responses to several topics are evidence that associates are engaged and feel they are an important part of the company. More than 1,200 responses were recently received about our Asian-American Pacific Islander toolkit; more than 1,100 on an activity around “Bringing Your Whole Self to Work,” and more than 1,000 for the topic, “This is Me.”
Recognition. A new award, the GEM Individual Inclusion Excellence award, is now open for nominations. We want to recognize associates who come to work each day seeking to make a difference in the lives of their co-workers, as well as patients and guests. There will be one individual award each for Morrison and Crothall, with each person receiving $1,000 for a celebration. Four other individuals, two from each company, will receive $500.
It’s clear that our company is not only discussing the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging but is living its values every day. Making our company one where everyone feels valued and believes they can make a difference in the lives of others is becoming a reality. And we’re continuing to work to make it even better.