Amplifying All Voices through Intentional Data Collection
For many organizations that are navigating the path to a more inclusive and equitable future, data plays a huge part in deciding where and how to implement necessary change. Here at BCC, our EDI Committee, Quality Improvement Team, and Executive Leadership have dedicated time to understand and identify a variety of diverse approaches to hearing directly from our employee population. As a community that is made up of direct care workers, educators, administrative assistants, nurses, clinicians, program directors, etc., the one size fits all approach to data will not work. Our teams reflected on what data collection looked like for our agency and concluded that to hear from our diverse employee population we had to ask the right questions and find new ways to get necessary data input.
In April 2021, BCC distributed an agency-wide employee survey for the purpose of understanding the overall satisfaction and perspective of various parts of the organization. What made this survey particularly unique compared to previous surveys, was that we intentionally included sections that allowed for employees to express their experience with specific EDI areas of interest. For example, questions around our core value of Safety were expanded to include feelings of mental and emotional safety instead of just physical safety. This decision was made because as an agency we know that being Trauma-Informed starts internally with how we work and communicate with each other. There was also a section added that focused on the concept of Voice. This section measured an employee’s comfortability with voicing their thoughts and opinions and determine if their voice is validated by leadership. Lastly, our teams took the time to update language, mitigate the use of outdated labels/categories, and focused on making our section on employee demographics more robust and inclusive. Take a look at a few of the specific EDI questions and statements included in our survey:
- BCC’s culture encourages a balance between work and family life
- When I speak up, my opinion is valued.
- I can voice a contrary opinion to my supervisor without fear of negative consequences.
- Topics related to self-care are addressed in team meetings (e.g. vicarious trauma, burnout, stress-reducing strategies).
- What is your family status?
- No Children
- Single parent/Legal guardian
- Partnered Parent/Legal guardian
- Prefer not to specify
- Are you a person with a disability?
- I have a disability
- I have a visible and invisible disability
- I have an invisible disability
- I do not have a disability
As we continue to navigate our EDI journey, we are understanding that data collection is more than sending our surveys through email. With this understanding, we developed a variety of data collection tools such as Open Forums, focus groups, and developing what we call the Campaign Approach which calls for EDI committee members to put boots to the ground and canvas their professional communities to engage staff to complete surveys and to restate the importance of having their voices heard. These additions to the employee survey create more intentional thought responses from participants and allow us to identify areas of improvement. Once you think about it…It does make sense to ask questions that give you a more detailed explanation of the holistic experiences of being a BCC employee. Especially, when creating environments that are encouraging people to bring their true selves to their professional settings.
The only way to reach milestones in this work is to hear directly from our communities about their workplace environment and to canvas for thought partners and potential contributors to EDI initiatives. As an agency, we are being exposed every day to new ways of engaging each other and implementing plans for change. We are excited about our future and encourage all our partners in this work to create specific ways to make data collection more inclusive and relevant.