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Jul 26, 2020

Diversity & Inclusion

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how we can make Dandelion a more inclusive and welcoming company. We’ve always tried to do right, whether it be with the farms we work with, or in our community, or with our staff. We’ve always cared deeply and believed that trust is given, second chances matter, and that we should be thoughtful in all of our interactions.

But really, that’s just the start. We need to do more here: recognize our privilege, identify how that affects our company and team members, make sure that everyone feels welcome at Dandelion, support paths to advancement for BIPOC, and do our part to fight against systemic racism.

With that in mind, I wanted to set in writing some of the actions we are taking to increase our inclusiveness. We see this as a living document that we’ll update as we adapt, and make changes. We hope you will follow along and provide feedback with ways that we can continue to listen, learn, and grow.

What we’re doing:

  • Creating an employee-led steering committee to help us listen and understand the issues important to the team and provide feedback as we make these changes.
    [Update as of 6/30: the steering committee has been formed and is meeting regularly]
  • Hiring a diversity consultant to help us make these changes as well as survey the team to understand how we can do better. This consultant is being chosen by the steering committee, with input from the entire company.
    [Update as of 7/15: the steering committee reviewed multiple proposals and has chosen Liberation Consulting.]

    [Update as of 10/5: Liberation Consulting has conducted interviews / surveys with team members.]

  • Starting additional mandatory diversity training. Currently we do online training (and have 90%+ participation) and are going to add more sessions and depth, again taking the lead from our consultant and steering committee.
    [Update as of 10/5: Liberation Consulting is starting diversity training this week, with sessions through late November.]

    [Update as of 11/30: Initial rounds of diversity training have been completed; vast majority of staff has participated so far.]

  • Reevaluating how we handle reconciliation, investigations, and mediation. Formal HR practices are heavy on the documentation for what happened but not necessarily on how people felt about the situation 3, 6, 12 months later and don’t give visibility into the actions taken or why. We would like to find a way to increase communication about these processes while staying legal and reflecting team member privacy. This will take some time to further develop in partnership with the steering committee and our consultant.
    [Update as of 11/30: Subcommittee has formed to address this and is in the process of examining our processes and handbook. ]
  • Integrating more implicit bias and inclusion training into our on-boarding and professional development.
    [Update as of 11/30: Added inclusion training into on-boarding. First rolled out to seasonal employees, currently evaluating feedback. ]
  • Forming a board of advisors to help us steer the company with outside voices.

As we’ve embarked on these changes, I’ve had a chance to talk to many team and community members and I’ve been heartened to see how deeply everyone cares about doing right here. These deep questions speak to our core values: how much do we value second chances versus zero tolerance? How do we treat employee privacy versus the need for justice? I’m looking forward to working through these issues in a thoughtful way.

We know that actions speak louder than words, so please watch this space for updates as we continue to implement these changes.


1 Comment

  1. Paul Zeron

    Sounds like a real fun place to work.


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