At Innovatemap, we define equity this way: We believe that all voices should be heard, considered, and amplified so we can do the most impactful work possible.
A 2020 report from McKinsey found that diverse companies perform better, hire better talent, have more engaged employees, and retain workers better than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion. That said, we’re focused on equity for broader outcomes than just company growth.
Today we hear from Christian Beck, Executive Partner, Growth Strategy and Design, about why equity was added to the values list, why that word was chosen and why this value in particular helps make Innovatemap stronger. He’s incredibly passionate about fighting racism and is committed to doing the work to provide equity not just for our company, but our community.
Why is the value here “equity” as opposed to “diversity” or “inclusion?”
A lot of thought went into selecting the most all-encompassing word. Diversity and equity are connected. You can’t have equity without diversity, but you can have diversity without equity. It seems companies often say they focus on diversity, but don’t go much beyond simply hiring a certain number of people from a particular race or gender. For example, you can check a lot of diversity boxes hiring only out of private universities. Or you can achieve gender equality in numbers while making leadership positions accessible to men alone. We try to reach out beyond numbers and look for diversity in life experiences and background. Equity then promises that each new perspective we bring is heard and valued equally.
How is equity visible at Innovatemap?
Our goal is that it is apparent in many ways. Back when we were in the office, the hope was that someone coming in for the first time wouldn’t be able to decipher who the CEO was; there would be collaboration among all and no one tucked in an office away from the rest. In meetings, we’ll often pause to ensure everyone can contribute who wants to. We’ll ask for opinions from everyone, not just the senior-level people in the room. Additionally, we don’t have a top-down hierarchy of leadership. Rather, our functional teams are formed in circles. For example, our CEO, Mike Reynolds, is a member of the sales team, but I’m the leader of that team. And I’m a member of the marketing team, even though I don’t lead it. We design pop-up teams around any particular project or problem, and the leader of the team is not necessarily the most senior person.
How do you ensure everyone’s voices are being heard?
Most people at Innovatemap feel comfortable speaking up. But that’s not good enough. People communicate in different ways. Some may not speak up because they’re inherently quiet, or they don’t want to hold-up a conversation. You have to acknowledge the differences we all have. That means being intentional about seeking feedback from everyone in a meeting scenario, but being equally-open to emailed input afterward once someone’s had more time to think, for example.
Does equity come into play when hiring? If so, how?
It does. From a hiring perspective, it means reaching outside of your existing network in a broader sense. It’s easy to look for new clients or new employees in the circles you’re already in and used to. If we’re only seeing job candidates who all look alike, we will challenge ourselves to look beyond our networks and utilize resources that allow us to reach new people. This can mean using new job search tools and attending events outside our networks to get the word out about Innovatemap.
Do you think the focus on equity is something Innovatemap employees value?
Absolutely. Equity, when handled respectfully, can not only bring value to a company through diverse perspectives, but can give back to provide voices to those that otherwise felt silent. For example, after posting something on LinkedIn about the recent gun violence in Atlanta against Asian-Americans, I received a message of thanks from a team member who appreciated me using my voice on the topic. Equity allows our company to do good in people’s lives simply by providing a world they can work, thrive and feel supported within.
I so appreciate Christian’s thoughts on equity here at Innovatemap. I can’t sign off without mentioning the empowerment I’ve felt working in an equitable environment that champions diversity, and how the large number of female team members in particular has inspired me.
If you have interest in the culture Innovatemap provides, check out our Careers page and see if any open roles are a fit for you.