As organizations begin to return from months of remote work or adjust to the new normal of remote work and continued distancing, workplace culture has never been more important and never been more tested. Some of us need time for healing from a reduction in staff and resources, furloughs, revenue loss, or increased responsibility. Some have never stopped working in the office, while others have been adjusting physical spaces to allow for more distancing and protocols as employees return to the office after months of being apart. Underlying all of this is the continuing fear of the virus, uncertainty in the economy, considering changes in mental health, and what may change and how fast. In a nutshell, it’s imperative that we do all we can, as organizations, to connect and convene experts in culture and inclusion for our communities to heal from the past 15 months.
The Plano Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its sixth year of hosting the Plano Culture & Inclusion Alliance (PCIA). In 2016, in partnership with the Mayor’s office and a larger campaign to positively highlight our community’s diverse make-up, the Chamber formed this group, along with several other efforts. Dedication of resources and increased efforts towards both creating and communicating a more inclusive Chamber and community were, and continue to be, the cornerstone of our organization’s strategic plan.
The PCIA is a collaboration and networking group of professionals who come together to share best practices, tools, resources, and ideas to harness the power of inclusion and diversity in our work environment and community. The PCIA is open strictly to D&I practitioners and heads of HR for our largest employers, creating a safe space for sharing and harnessing the expertise of companies who lead the way in diversity and inclusion. It is an inclusive approach and membership is not required. The group meets bi-monthly to connect and discuss trends in culture and inclusion work, as well as learning best practices from two companies per meeting.
Just last year we decided to do more. Both Toyota and Frito-Lay now help lead the alliance and support the work financially. With additional resources, the Chamber has created a council, named the Chair of this group to our Board of Directors, and created ways to harness the collective power of DE&I professionals in the alliance to share with the rest of our community through speaking engagements, blogs, white papers, and training sessions.
As we begin to think about what our workplaces (both ours and our members) look like with a return to some normalcy, the culture and inclusive environment of an organization has never been more important. It looks different in every corner of the world, but by convening experts in this field, our organizations can help lead the effort to emerge stronger and more resilient. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or if I could help you start a similar program in your organization. We’re all in this together.