Diversity Week 2021: Celebrating the Uniqueness of Our Employees
October 4, 2021 / Organizational Culture
Over the past two years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the workplace have quickly evolved from a simple pledge of support to a core value within the organizational culture. As we continue to battle an ongoing pandemic and employers navigate “The Great Resignation,” organizations are beginning to recognize that establishing a diverse and inclusive culture influences not only employee wellbeing but also employee retention. In fact, 2 in 5 employees report they would leave their company for a more inclusive one, further highlighting the crucial role DEI initiatives play in organizational growth and success.
Diversity Week is an opportunity to amplify and celebrate efforts to achieve workforce diversity. Held annually in October (which also happens to be Global Diversity Awareness Month), this awareness week has been celebrated since 1998, offering an opportunity for employers, institutions, and communities to raise awareness about the vital role diversity continues to play in shaping the culture and progress of the United States.
Running from October 4th-8th this year, Virgin Pulse’s Diversity Week celebration is composed of a series of programs and events focused on advancing best practices in business and inspiring individual-level action. More than thirty Virgin Pulse employees—alongside our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) team—banded together to organize and plan this week’s activities, consisting of employee panels, watch parties, trivia events, external executive speakers, and more. Covering a range of topics related to JEDI principles, including disability, race, gender identity, and age diversity, these events serve as a company-wide learning opportunity for all members of our workforce.
Here’s how we’re celebrating Diversity Week 2021 at Virgin Pulse:
October 4: BOLD Introduction and a Panel Discussion on Allyship
We’re kicking off Diversity Week by introducing our newest employee impact group (EIG), the Black Organizers, Leaders, and Doers (BOLD). In addition to formally introducing the BOLD EIG, the Virgin Pulse JEDI team joins BOLD to facilitate a live panel discussion on allyship. Moderated by our JEDI Director, Dr. Marlette Jackson, we’re exploring what allyship means, why it’s important, and how we can all be better allies in the workplace and society.
October 5: A Fireside Chat on Women in Leadership: Breaking the Glass Ceiling
In partnership with Virgin Pulse’s Women of Wellbeing (WOW) EIG, we’re hosting an exclusive fireside chat live in our Providence office. Moderated by Virgin Pulse’s Vice President of Strategic Sales, Jacquelynn Russell, this powerful and inspiring session on women in leadership and breaking the glass ceiling features Laura Walmsley, our own Senior Vice President of Business Development, and Victoria Russell, Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at Beam Suntory.
We’re continuing the conversation over lunch with Allyship in Action, a panel session featuring several members of our leadership team. Our Chief Executive Officer, Chris Michalak, our Chief Product Officer, Ron Hildebrandt, our Chief Marketing Officer, Wendy Werve, and Health Content Strategist, Felicia Megginson are coming together with Dr. Marlette Jackson for an informative discussion on how to be better allies to women.
October 6: The Multigenerational Workforce
For the first time in history, the modern-day workforce will see 4-5 different generations interacting together on projects in the workplace. Powered by the JEDI team and GenExcellence and moderated by our Senior JEDI Specialist James Whirlwind Soldier, this panel on the multigenerational workforce features a candid discussion on age-based stereotypes, biases, the benefits of age diversity on teams, and strategies on how to have courageous conversations about age bias in the workplace.
October 7: Our Fight for Disability Rights
In addition to being Global Diversity Awareness Month, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). A national campaign in the United States, NDEAM raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. In commemoration of this month, we’re hosting a watch party to air a TEDx talk on disability rights. Our JEDI Director, Dr. Marlette Jackson, moderates a fireside chat with Greta Peterson, discussing myths and misconceptions about employees with disabilities, strategies employers can leverage to create a more inclusive environment, and the pride and empowerment people with disabilities carry.
October 8: Global Trivia!
We’re wrapping up Diversity Week at Virgin Pulse with our first-ever Global Trivia. Hosted by our Global Unite! group, this hour of competitive and fun yet informative trivia connects employees with their colleagues from our global offices. The top winners will receive Virgin Pulse platform points (we live it and breathe it here at Virgin Pulse!). Global Unite! is ending the hour with a special tribute for an extraordinary conclusion to Diversity Week.
Supporting Diversity in the Workplace Every Day
Diverse teams inspire creativity and innovation in the workplace. By bringing together different perspectives, a diverse workforce is better equipped to solve problems, reach or exceed financial goals, and make better business decisions. Diversity in the workplace also helps establish a culture of inclusion, leading to stronger team morale, greater company loyalty, and better overall health and wellbeing.
There’s more building and maintaining diverse teams than inclusive hiring practices. Employers must also understand and support the unique needs of the individuals across their workforce. This means creating equitable opportunities for each employee to succeed in their professional and personal goals.
From fair hiring and career growth practices to providing employees with access to the health and wellbeing tools and resources most relevant to them through a highly personalized Homebase for Health®, all members of your workforce—regardless of race, age, gender identity, or abilities—feel empowered and valued each day. By centering workplace culture around diversity, equity, and inclusion, organizations enable employees to bring their best selves to work each day for a healthier workforce and a more successful business.