Today is Juneteenth. On this day in 1865, enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, finally heard the federal orders that they were free.
As we celebrate that anniversary, we recognize that 155 years later, Black Americans are still suffering the fallout of oppression.
What can we do as a company? Well, lots.
First off, we’re starting here: Black lives matter. Everywhere, including inside our company. We stand alongside the Black Lives Matter movement in the fight for a better world. And we stand by our black employees. There is no place at iCIMS for hate, bigotry, racism, or disrespect of any kind. That’s direct from our CEO, Steve Lucas, who has made diversity and inclusion an executive priority.
You’ll see that reflected here in this blog from now on. In addition to our usual posts on HR trends and hiring tech, we’ll feature stories from our employees, partners, and customers that focus on topics of diversity and inclusion as they relate to recruiting, onboarding, and working. Because that’s our business and we owe it to you to do it better.
Two weeks ago, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, our leaders met with members of iBelong, our group leading the charge for better diversity and inclusion at iCIMS, specifically to ask members to share their experiences. They shared pain and outrage, advice and ideas, and we took it all down.
“There is an ancient saying that says that when one part of us suffers, we all suffer,” said Julissa Germosen, Strategic Partner Relationship Manager. “That’s what’s happening here at iCIMS. Within our iCIMS family, there are pockets of people that have not been fully heard, their concerns and challenges not fully addressed in thoughtful, respectful, and meaningful ways. These are challenging conversations to have. I am proud we are starting to have these discussions, address difficult topics, and implement inclusive strategies here at iCIMS, head on.”
And they are difficult topics, even for iCIMS Technical Product Manager, Natasha Daniels, who came of age during the 80s in the south where her classmates asked her to sit in the back of the bus because their parents were part of the KKK.
“It’s no longer abnormal to me to hear about the police being called on a black man, woman, or child for running, walking, birdwatching, going home, going to work, shopping, drinking coffee, not drinking coffee, eating, BBQing, selling water, listening to music, doing their job, blinking, breathing – existing. Or that I’m being asked to explain black pain to people introducing themselves to how they have actually been the micro-aggressors, even though ‘they have black friends.’ My skin is not a sin. It is a blessing.”
So, there’s work to be done at home, along with our responsibility to lead our industry to change not just the conversation, but the way we approach hiring. There’s latent and blatant bias in traditional methods and tools used in hiring today. We need to be honest about that. The implication here is that we need better training for talent teams and hiring managers and more sophisticated technologies to not only mitigate bias, but also serve up candidates who have been overlooked previously.
As Julissa says, “There is indisputable evidence that companies with inclusive workforces perform better than others. Our customers and partners are looking to us to lead here.”
Technical Product Manager, Amber Brown, puts it like this: “As a woman and person of ethnic background, I have felt the added complexities of trying to fit a certain mold to make it in corporate life, whether that means putting up a façade in an interview or at work to advance the ranks. D&I in the workplace is critical because we should be able to bring our authentic selves to work and not change who we are in order to belong or be considered for promotions and leadership positions.”
We’ve got to change that. And we’re committed to do our part.
Stay tuned as we continue to highlight stories from our team here at iCIMS as well as fulfill our ongoing mission to equip companies with the right tools and knowledge we all need to build diverse and winning workforces. It’s a start. Join us.