At Cantilever we assert and acknowledge that racism exists, and that all of us need to participate actively in “Anti-Racism” in order to combat bias in every facet of life. Racism is systematic and can easily seep into the workplace. We acknowledge that our workplace has been shaped and formed in a racist context and that we may (even unknowingly) propagate racist patterns within our culture. We seek to first see and then fight these tendencies to create a powerful anti-racist culture at Cantilever.
An anti-racist mentality at Cantilever is not new, but recent events have prompted us to have a public and overt policy, which we never have before. We haven‘t done nearly enough and have failed our own metrics of success in this area at times. We can always do better.
First we must define a few terms:
Racism is different from racial prejudice, hatred, or discrimination. Racism involves one group having the power to carry out systematic discrimination through the institutional policies and practices of the society and by shaping the cultural beliefs and values that support those racist policies and practices.
Prejudice is an attitude based on limited information, often on stereotypes. Prejudice is usually, but not always, negative preconceived opinions not based on reason or actual experiences.
We can’t solve racism in our workplace easily, but a few key measures we take to fight it are:
- Posting all job opportunities on varied and public job boards to reach outside of our own network.
- Seeking to hire anyone who has the abilities to get the job done, and not hire only for specific job titles or seniority levels. This accounts for the fact that some people may have the abilities to perform a certain role but have not yet had the opportunities to acquire experience in it because of systemic racism.
- In the selection of professional services (accountant, Lawyer, consultants, etc) Cantilever commits to actively seeking vendors run by people of color and women. We commit to including one such vendor in the interview stage of any such search.
- Creating metrics to measure our success at attracting a diverse team (along all axes) and establishing an anti-racist culture. We commit to viewing those metrics regularly as a key piece of data for our leadership team.
- We understand that micro interactions can reflect bias and prejudice. Cantilever commits to clear and open dialogue about microagressions, and in cases where a team member may feel aggressed, Cantilever commits to taking action to identify and address the microagression with mediation. Team members should bring issues forward to the Director of People Ops.
In addition to larger-scale policies, Cantilever seeks to be anti-racist in subtler ways:
- We commit to elevating suggestions and ideas about making the Cantilever workplace more in line with anti-racist policies to the Director of Operations to ensure those suggestions and ideas are heard and acted upon.
- We use a diverse range of ethnicities, body types, and physical ability in our design illustrations.
- We commit to avoiding having whiteness as the “default” race represented visually, verbally, and culturally in our communication and design.
- We promote the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racist causes in our published materials and social media, and in subtle ways like a small footer link on our website.
- We commit to being aware of mental health during heightened times of social unrest as it relates to race by requiring Managers to reach out to each team member they oversee to check in and determine if any time off would be helpful to them. Any time off will be agreed upon by the Manager, Team Member, and People Ops to ensure the team member is taken care of and to determine where the time off hours will be taken from. Our sick pay policy allows employees to take sick leave for mental health reasons, and we will give special consideration for additional sick pay for cases where current events cause a substantial mental health challenge in someone’s life.
- We will allow team members to make purchases through our Director of Operations instead of doing personal reimbursements, as needed.
- If Cantilever team members or collaborators express racist views on their social media, Cantilever will view that as a sign that the employee is not the right person for the Cantilever Team. We define a 'racist view' as any expression of a prejudiced, biased, or harassing statement about race. This falls in line with our Nondiscrimination policy. If an employee exhibits racist views on their social media a meeting with their manager and the people ops director will take place to determine actions needing to be taken.
Questions for Our Team
- What is Cantilever missing the bar on as it relates to diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
- Do you have any recommendations/feelings/ideas about what Cantilever could be doing differently?
- What do you think is the most important thing Cantilever can do to create a workplace of inclusion that is actively anti-racist?
- Does our personal reimbursement policy seem fair and accessible to you?