An increasing emphasis has been placed on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives within organizations, and for good reason. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's also good for business, right? While hiring a diverse workforce is beneficial to any organization, it's not enough to simply hire a variety of people from diverse racial, neurological, religious, and physical ability backgrounds. The authors of a Harvard Business Review study on workplace DEI recently updated their original thoughts from 25 years ago to emphasize four essential actions to make DEI initiatives truly work and create organizations that are genuinely diverse and financially successful as a result. In this blog post, we'll delve into these actions and discuss a simple yet powerful way organizations can support DEI, and how providing employees with free period care can help you get there.
The Four Key Actions for Successful DEI Initiatives
Hiring a diverse workforce is the first step of your DEI initiative. However, for DEI initiatives to be effective, a shift in the company culture is required, as emphasized by the Harvard Business study. Without a concentrated effort to harness staff diversity, most employees conform to fitting in, and the status quo prevails. To genuinely leverage the benefits of diversity, the study stresses that organizations must adopt a new mindset and implement the following four crucial actions:
1) Build Trust and Create a Safe Workplace: Employees need to feel free to be themselves without fearing judgment or discrimination. Creating a safe, open, and inclusive work environment is essential to fostering a sense of belonging.
2) Actively Combat Bias and Systems of Oppression: Tackling bias and oppressive systems head-on is a must. This means identifying and dismantling discriminatory practices and actively working to level the playing field for all employees.
3) Embrace a Variety of Styles and Voices: Diversity goes beyond demographics. It includes a variety of work styles, communication styles, and voices. Embracing these differences enriches the work environment, leading to more creative problem-solving and better decision-making.
4) Utilize Employees' Identity-Related Knowledge and Experiences: Each employee brings a unique set of experiences related to their identity. Leveraging these insights can help organizations better understand and cater to their customers and clients. Employees' diverse perspectives can also inform how the company conducts its core work more effectively.
How Period Care Strengthens DEI Initiatives
One simple yet impactful way organizations can support DEI and the four recommended actions listed above is to offer free period care to employees. Supplying free period care within work washrooms helps to:
Reduce inequalities: 86% of menstruators experience unexpected periods at work causing absenteeism and reduced opportunities. Free employee period care removes this barrier, reduces workplace inequalities, and helps employees remain productive and active at work.
Support employee health and wellness: Providing period care in the workplace can improve employee wellness by reducing infection risk and relieving the stress of unexpected periods. Choosing products that are organic and free from fragrances and chemicals supports employees with sensitivities and further reduces the risk of irritation and infections. joni products are also biodegradable, which further supports sustainability efforts.
Combat biases: Employees no longer need to ask around in secret when they are caught off guard without products on hand. Workplace period care combats the cultural message that menstruation is taboo or shameful and acknowledges that it is a normal, biological function no one should feel ashamed about.
Foster inclusivity: Onsite period care sends a message to those who menstruate that they are welcome and supported in your organization. They are not a burden or an outlier but an integral part of the team. Providing period care products in packaging that is gender-neutral and devoid of overtly feminine branding strengthens your inclusivity goals by making these products more accessible to those who menstruate but do not identify as feminine.
Opting for high-quality period care demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and plays a vital role in a comprehensive employee retention strategy. As businesses strive to entice their workforce back to the office environment, they are investing in executive-level amenities that cater to the needs of all employees. Inclusively providing period care is an additional measure that conveys to your team how much you value and prioritize their well-being.
The Vancouver Innovation, Advanced Technology, and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) demonstrates that even small workplaces can support their team through period care. Having introduced joni period care into their washrooms in early 2023, Anna Quinn, VIATEC’s Marketing and Communications Manager, explained that the decision was part of a continued commitment to creating an inclusive organization. Offering free period care products is a simple step toward eliminating gender bias and menstrual stigma while supporting an inclusive workplace in an industry that is traditionally male-dominated.
DEI is Good for Business
Free workplace period care alone doesn't create a diverse workplace, just as a diverse workplace doesn't guarantee a successful business. However, both initiatives are integral components of a broader mission and vision for equitable organizations. Beginning on December 15, 2023, changes to the labor code in Canada will require all federally regulated organizations to provide period care products in their washrooms. However, we're already seeing many organizations, like VIATEC, which are not federally regulated, taking the lead in providing workplace period care because it's a simple yet meaningful way to actively support DEI beyond mere compliance. By implementing free, high-quality period care in your workplace, you can foster a more inclusive, bias-free, and supportive environment. It's time to take action and transform your workplace into a better environment for everyone.