Businesses don’t like to give away their trade secrets. However, I’m going to let you in on ClearTech’s secret weapon: We don’t just practice diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) — we embrace it. Every ounce of energy we put into DEI has been returned to us many times over.
Diversity isn’t an uncommon topic in our industry. Most of the time, though, business leaders view DEI efforts solely through the lens of being “the right thing to do” for their employees and society. Perhaps they also view it as an enhancement of the company brand. ClearTech, however, often trumpets the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work culture not only in creating a positive, encouraging work environment but also in making business more profitable and competitive.
How do you realize the potential of DEI? As Employers Council attorney Alexander Sediva writes, “DEI planning is an organizational journey, not a ‘check-the-box’ type of project.” ClearTech, for example, doesn’t have a DEI officer. What we do have — and this is essential — is a fundamental commitment to nurturing the talent, imagination and insights all around us.
“Before we ever heard of DEI, we always valued the contributions of people with different backgrounds and perspectives,” ClearTech’s CTO, Joe Perez, says. “We want people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives who share a work ethic, are fresh thinkers and have a shared sense of ownership over our company’s future.”
We unlock those qualities by creating a work culture that values our differences, treats people fairly, and involves and empowers team members to realize their potential. For ClearTech, it’s about creating a culture of opportunity.
One way that we put our convictions into practice is by opening our hiring and training programs to people who come from outside the industry. Our operations manager, Thuy To, says, “Our requirements aren’t hard and fast. A job candidate might not have every credential or qualification. But, if they’re capable, competent, and have a great attitude and work ethic, then they’ll be in the running to get hired.”
This leads to another practice that’s core to our success: We strongly believe in training across disciplines. If a team member in one area has an interest in gaining expertise in another, then we’ll do everything we can to satisfy their curiosity and provide a path from A to B. In fact, we actively encourage our team to expand their knowledge and capabilities!
It’s tremendously important to enable people to explore their interests and discover their strengths and passions. To do that, we strive to create an environment that champions every individual and rewards curiosity. Although ClearTech is a small company, we’re often chosen over larger integrators — and we have the blue-chip clients to prove it. The number-one thing that universities, utilities and technology powerhouses love about ClearTech is our team. Specifically, they love the breadth of our strengths and the depth of our commitment.
“Each of us feels accountable not only for ClearTech’s success but also for our customers’ success,” To says. “And that’s a big part of what has made our company successful.”
How do you assemble a team with this kind of dedication to their customers and this level of commitment to their craft? First, by clearing away all the obstacles that stand in the way of finding the right people and, second, by removing the barriers that prevent them from reaching their potential.
For ClearTech, that’s what DEI is all about.
About the Author
Christina De Bono is president of Altadena, Calif.-based ClearTech (cleartechmedia.com) and an NSCA Board member.
*Originally published on CommercialIntegrator.com*