46% of LGBTQIA+ People Are Closeted at Work. Here’s What a San Francisco Company Is Doing to Change That.
In the modern workplace, co-workers supporting each other may seem like a no-brainer — and evidence that each employee’s efforts and expertise are valued. After all, spending day after day working on a team with others is like creating a new type of modern family built on trust and shared talent, no matter who you are.
Unfortunately, even in 2021, minorities in tech are still experiencing discrimination — including suffering biases against gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation and more — courtesy of the reported “bro culture” perpetuated within the industry. And while there are plenty of anecdotes of alleged discrimination and harassment throughout every field of work, a study by the Kapor Center for Social Impact and Harris Poll revealed that among its key findings, bullying is driving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer employees out of tech.
But many companies in Silicon Valley and beyond are pushing back against this trend.
Professional medical network Doximity, for example, relies on instating policies of protection for their LGBTQIA+ employees in order to make them feel seen, appreciated and understood.
“For this reason, we have an internal wiki or blog page dedicated to highlighting all programs and policies that impact the community in a positive way,” DEI Manager Félix Manuel Chinea said. “We are excited to continue building upon this foundation in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
In honor of National Coming Out Day, Built In San Francisco sat down in conversation with Chinea to learn about all the data-driven ways Doximity supports its employees to live proudly as their most authentic selves at work — and to build trust with the company along the way.
According to Chinea, relying on thoughtful people data strategies helps Doximity make informed decisions around employee benefits and policies so that every person on the team feels supported.
Being open about one’s sexuality in the workplace is a deeply personal decision, one that’s often informed by the level of safety and trust a person feels at work. What are some concrete steps your company has taken to create a sense of trust and safety among your team?
Building high-trust teams is vital to creating a sense of belonging. It’s important to understand that relationship building looks different depending on the individual, team or community. Doximity is focused on providing a virtual safe space, building a learning culture and communicating our efforts that directly support the LGBTQIA+ community.
To provide that sense of safety and community, we encourage all employees who identify with the LGBTQIA+ community to join a private Slack channel to share in community or voice concerns with vulnerability and candor. In addition to providing a dedicated space for the community, we have also invested much time and effort in creating an open Slack channel that serves as a “brave space” for all conversations related to impacted communities and DEI topics.
We also understand that organizations must communicate policies and practices that specifically support individuals to help them feel seen. For this reason, we have an internal wiki or blog page dedicated to highlighting all programs and policies that impact the community in a positive way. We are excited to continue building upon this foundation in support of the LGBTQIA+ community.
How do you monitor and measure these types of sentiments among your team? And how does this data help inform your people strategies?
Investing in thoughtful people data strategies that are able to adequately tell the story of our employees’ experiences through data with context is extremely important to us as an organization. We currently have an annual Dox Vitals survey that helps inform us about employee sentiment across the organization and helps inform decision making around employee benefits and policies.
As the DEI and belonging manager, I am collaborating with our people ops team to further invest in our people data by capturing marginalized identities so that we can better center equity in our decision making processes. As we make these efforts, it is important that we first build high-trust relationships with employees across all marginalized backgrounds so that they are comfortable providing that self-identification data that will further help us serve them best.
Building high-trust teams is vital to creating a sense of belonging.”
What are some direct ways your company celebrates or supports the LGBTQIA+ community, either internally or externally?
Creating equitable policies and practices to support the LGBTQIA+ community is of utmost importance at Doximity. In this effort, we have a clear anti-discrimination policy that includes any harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and sex or gender (which includes gender identity, gender expression, transitioning, sex stereotype and transgender identity). We also ensure that our employee assistance program, aimed at supporting the mental health of all employees, equitably serves the LGBTQIA+ community.
Lastly, we make efforts to ensure that we partner with inclusive health insurance providers that demonstrate a commitment to transgender-specific issues. In celebration of the lives and identities of all our employees, we also encourage them to share personal stories through a weekly Slack challenge.
As we continuously work to become a more inclusive organization, we will work with leaders from our LGBTQIA+ employee resource group ([email protected]) to further develop programs and initiatives that support the community and foster education throughout the organization.