Employees Deserve To Clock in Authentically. That’s the Mission at Applied Systems.

Fostering a culture of inclusion isn’t just beneficial for employees; it’s better for business.

Written by Mia Goulart
Published on May. 22, 2024
Employees Deserve To Clock in Authentically. That’s the Mission at Applied Systems.
Image: Applied Systems
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 2,000 hours per year. 90,000 over a lifetime. 

That’s how much time full-time employees spend at work, per recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

With a substantial portion of our lives spent at work, finding a workplace that facilitates genuine connection is essential. As such, Applied Systems knows that new employees aren’t just joining a company; they're ditching the traditional employer-employee relationship for an environment where inclusion comes first.

And the Applied Systems family celebrates each of its members. In June 2021, Applied Systems held its first Pride Month celebration — LGBTQIA+ employees shared heartfelt videos about inclusion and their coming-out journeys. The response was incredible, and Applied Systems has since maintained its strong support for the LGBTQIA+ community — aiming to foster understanding, unity and connection among colleagues.

Senior Diversity and Inclusion Manager Tara Seawright highlighted that, in addition to supporting Pride at Applied, the company proudly extends its support to various other diverse communities, such as Black at Applied, IndispensAbility, Women in Tech and Veterans at Applied.

 

APPLIED’S GLOBAL CULTURE OF INCLUSION STRATEGY

  1. Engage leaders as champions of change by encouraging them to make inclusion personal and defining metrics, as well as driving leader accountability for change.
  2. Eliminate systemic barriers to inclusion by breaking them down once identified via inclusion change teams. 
  3. Operationalize inclusion in all that is done by ensuring all talent practices are inclusive and using qualitative and quantitative data to measure progress.

 

“An inclusive business recognizes, appreciates and values your differences,” said Seawright.  “Inclusion allows employees to be their authentic selves at work — and when an individual is comfortable, they are engaged, trusting, connected and more productive than ever,” 

But fostering a culture of inclusion isn’t just beneficial for employees. As Chief Customer Officer Trever Bunker said, “Diversity and inclusivity are also great for business.”

 

Tarra Seawright
Senior Diversity and Inclusion Manager • Applied Systems

 

What is the mission behind your company’s culture of inclusion?  

Each of Applied’s communities of inclusion, or COIs, possesses a unique mission that prioritizes its members — cultivating a sense of belonging and community.  Applied’s five communities not only offer incredible programming and resources to their members and allies but have also made space for important discussions on intersectionality, the need for safety to show up authentically and how we can make the greater insurtech industry a more welcoming place for a diverse workforce. 

 

“Applied has made space for important discussions on intersectionality and the need for safety to show up authentically.”

 

Our COIs have the full support of executive leadership, with an executive sponsor named for each group. The scope and direction of their work is employee directed and designed to support our team members. While having leadership support has been an invaluable asset for the COIs, retaining the autonomy to make decisions for programming has allowed these groups to remain employee focused rather than beholden to a checklist put in place by leaders. 
 

What’s the inspiration behind some recent COI initiatives?  

We’re guided by seven core values, one of which is to create inclusion and belonging. By involving our COIs as key stakeholders in the development and execution of diversity, inclusion and belonging initiatives, we've seen that value manifest in tangible ways. 
 
Through the outreach of our team members leading our COIs, we’ve established partnerships with community organizations such as the Center on Halsted, which serves the city’s LGBTQIA+ population. We’ve also had the opportunity to represent Applied in Pride and Juneteenth parades and participate in the nationwide pushup challenge with Veterans at Applied, leading the charge to raise funds and awareness for veteran suicide.  
 
Internally, our COIs have led incredible programming. For example, Black at Applied’s “It’s OK Not to Be OK” initiative allows our Black team members and their allies to engage in dialogue about topics that might be otherwise censored or dismissed. The program has created a greater understanding of what our teammates are experiencing and deepened trust between teammates. Similarly, IndispensAbility hosts an “Ask Me Anything” series aimed at broadening perspectives on topics like autism, unseen disabilities and neurodiversity in the workplace.  
 
This work can be challenging and uncomfortable, but the benefits we’ve seen have made the hard work worthwhile. 


 
Can you tell us more about how your COIs have influenced Applied’s recruiting efforts and initiatives this year? 

Our COIs partnered with our talent acquisition team to improve our recruitment of diverse talent. This partnership helped us identify and tap into new recruiting channels to introduce Applied to a broader potential employee pool, especially in spaces where we may not have had a presence before.  
 
We piloted this initiative with Veterans at Applied, seeking to improve the recruiting experience for veterans or military family members. Our communications and culture team spoke with veterans internally and externally to inform and create a veteran recruiting resource kit that includes rank and responsibility conversion information and interview resources. 
Following the pilot’s success, we’ve expanded our diversity recruitment efforts and are entering the second phase with Black at Applied. This includes expanding our participation in Black tech events, promoting our open roles on Black tech job boards and creating additional opportunities for supervisor and hiring manager training to improve both our recruitment processes and the candidate experience. 
 

How do you make space to collaborate amongst the COIs in a remote space? 

We prioritize collaborating virtually so we don’t lose that feeling of community. One of the ways we’ve made more traditional programming available in the remote space has been via our partnership with Unexpected Virtual Tours. This Atlanta-based organization facilitates DEI activities and training online in the form of an interactive tour. These experiences have been very well attended by our team and make it possible to engage in the history behind Juneteenth or Women’s History Month in an accessible way. 
 
We’ve also had a variety of movement or mindfulness-focused events hosted by our COIs. IndispensAbility hosts monthly chair yoga, which makes movement accessible for team members with limited mobility or limited time to decompress during the day. Our COIs have also hosted a variety of speakers on topics such as the importance of mentorship, volunteerism and how to be an active ally for the people in your network. 

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Applied Systems.

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