By Briana Kenneh, DIB Program Consultant
“The social object that most unites people is a shared value or purpose.”
– Nilofer Merchant, Rules For the Social Era
Delta Dental believes that to be engaged, you must feel included, respected and valued. We are acting intentionally to champion inclusion and belonging as we shape our culture to ensure that our employees can be their true selves at work.
Our core values of trust, service, excellence and innovation are unified in our shared commitment to take exceptional care of our customers and each other. We know through our own experience – and through countless studies – that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more creative work environment that delivers better results.
What are Inclusion Communities?
Inclusion Communities (ICs), also known as Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), are voluntary, employee-led groups that foster inclusivity and build community. At Delta Dental, we have five Inclusion Communities that are open to all employees. They are led by and made up of employees who share a value, purpose or characteristic, such as ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, common interests and military affiliation, to name a few. These groups exist to provide personal and professional support to their members, and to create a safe space where employees can bring their whole selves to work.
Dental Dental’s five Inclusion Communities are:
The employee benefit of Inclusion Communities
Like ERGs, ICs are a great benefit for our employees. Their fight for inclusivity builds high-trust relationships and enhances the employee experience. The resources offered by these groups help employees feel more supported. ICs encourage us all to learn more about different cultural norms, shared challenges and personal stories of overcoming adversity in a supportive and safe environment. An inclusive culture isn’t possible without cultural awareness and understanding cultural practices is important to building community and promoting allyship.
The business benefit of Inclusion Communities
ICs don’t just benefit employees, companies that value inclusivity also see the benefit of supporting the creation and sustainability of these groups. Our Inclusion Communities are improving employee satisfaction and are helping to drive innovation. They also support employees in growing their skills and abilities, which helps develop our future leaders.
Inclusion Communities foster a sense of belonging amongst employees, inspire crucial conversations and bring new ways to look at business concerns. Underrepresented employees are given space and resources to support one another in building their community. Through collective effort, employees in ICs are advocating to improve working conditions for underrepresented employees.
Who can join an Inclusion Community?
While each group focuses their efforts on advancing a specific employee population, all employees are encouraged to join and participate. Inclusion Communities are meant to be open rather than exclusive. Another focus for our ICs is to help connect members into the larger organization. Allies are also invited to join ICs to learn how to support their colleagues and leaders.
For more information on Delta Dental’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) efforts, including how employees can become a member of an Inclusion Community, please email the DIB team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Briana Kenneh is a passionate Diversity and Inclusion practitioner and accelerator. She serves as a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging team at Delta Dental where she oversees enterprise Inclusion Communities, monthly common interest working groups, and Seen and Heard Speaker Series and Focus Groups.