Riipen Life - Forming our DE&I Council

May 5, 2022

In 2021, after building a strong foundation for many of our people processes, we began to explore how we could approach Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Riipen more intentionally and company-wide.

We had made some great progress with the following programs and initiatives but knew that we could contribute to more meaningful impact with greater representation in the decision-making process, consistent data to support our decisions, goals to guide our work, deliberate action toward those goals, and support from leadership to ensure company-wide impact.

What we had already achieved

  • DE&I Practices within Talent Acquisition including voluntary demographic questions for external applicants for data tracking, inclusive posting language, staged and documented recruitment process, and interview accommodations.
  • A DE&I Focused Compensation Program including a zero gender pay gap policy, annual synchronized pay reviews to eliminate bias, a salary revision approval process to ensure fairness, and internal recruitment policies.
  • General Programs & Practices including our Respectful Workplace Policy, our community giving program geared towards providing funding to diverse organizations supporting youth education in underrepresented groups, and DE&I practices documented in Manager’s Handbook

With this in mind, we started with the formation of our DEI Council. While we had made some progress already, it was important that we have representation from across our organization and that we were engaging team members who were passionate about this work. After forming the council, we came together for a number of sessions to discuss why this work is important to each of us and how we can start making a meaningful impact. Through exploring our different perspectives and values and then refining our ideas, we ultimately decided on our mission statement for the DEI Council.

Why this work is important to us

This work matters to us because inequality, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, country of origin, citizenship status, socioeconomic class, ability, gender, and sexuality, is structural; doing the bare minimum won't make a dent. It takes consistency, dedication, and long-term commitment to change an institution that without vigilance, reinforces itself decision by decision. Riipen has the ability, through its mission of eliminating underemployment, to create life-changing opportunities for underrepresented groups. 

Determining our starting point

With our north star in mind, we needed to figure out where we stood so we could make informed decisions and set clear goals to work towards. We collected the following internal data:

  1. How the team feels - How our team members feel about our efforts toward DE&I and how they feel about being a part of Riipen. We collected this survey data anonymously through Culture Amp.
  2. Who we are - How our team identifies through self-selected demographics. We collected this survey data anonymously through Culture Amp and compared it to Canadian statistical DE&I data so we could set realistic expectations.
  3. Who we attract - Self-reported equality monitoring reported through our applicant tracking system.

Knowing our baselines, we were able to dive into all of our DE&I ideas, categorize them, and create our 5-year plan.

Our next steps

What have we accomplished so far? We kicked off 2022 with amazing company-wide DE&I training from Bakau, have implemented training for all of our new team members through Feminuity’s LEVEL-UP course, published a gender-inclusive language guide, and are looking forward to our other 2022 initiatives.

In alignment with all of our people processes and initiatives, we approach DEI in the same way - to enable every Riipeneer to do their best work. It is incredibly important that all team members, both present and future, of all backgrounds and identities, feel seen, heard, and ultimately included in the work we do. This work is not easy and is never done, but we are excited to continue making meaningful progress.