Yelp Inc. is bringing employees together to highlight the link between wellness and diversity, equity and inclusion.
“When we think about wellness, [DEI] is a big piece of the puzzle in terms of how we support employees’ whole professional selves,” says Miriam Warren, the technology company’s chief diversity officer. “In the early days, we thought about it more in relation to physical health, [but] this has evolved into our thinking about how wellness really affects people’s work every day.”
In April, Yelp introduced three new in-person, DEI-focused workshops to tackle topics such as intersectionality and bias, inclusive language and how cultural differences inform ways of working. The workshops — introduced after Yelp moved to a fully remote working model — have come at a time when employees are craving social interaction with colleagues, says Warren, noting the time staff spend together in a remote environment must be intentional. Indeed, the workshops provide a safe space for employees to get together and continue conversations on building and maintaining an inclusive workplace for all.
“Now that work has moved inside our homes, employees expect to be able to show up in the workplace as their whole professional selves,” she says. “As political divides in the U.S. deepen, creating spaces and opportunities that recognize and celebrate authenticity and equity are crucial. The current political landscape affects our employees’ emotional, mental and physical well-being, making it all the more crucial to foster an inclusive environment for employees of all backgrounds.”
While some employees find the workshops have mostly reinforced what they already know, other workers are just learning about topics such as intersectional identity, says Warren, adding many employees also find the workshops applicable to their personal lives.
Although some organizations treat DEI training as separate from leadership training, she notes much of DEI training is about empathy in leadership. “Great leaders are empathetic and . . . can solicit different viewpoints, bringing them all together to make something stronger as a whole than the sum of its parts.”
And Warren notes the organization’s DEI strategy is also leading to increased instances of boomerang employees — those who left the company and have returned. “Everyone knows what it’s like to feel like you belong somewhere and, conversely, we know what it feels like when you don’t. We are looking to create a place where people feel like they belong in good times and in contentious times.”