Amplifying DEI in a Hybrid Work World

How a new group encourages engagement with our DEI programs

DEI programming works when employees are constantly engaging, learning, and growing – which can be harder to accomplish in a remote-first environment. That’s why we’ve started supercharging our efforts at NextRoll through a new DEI Advocates program. 

DEI Advocates are Rollers who volunteer their time internally to keep our diversity, equity, and inclusion events, surveys, and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) top-of-mind with various teams throughout the company. 

“Shifting to a hybrid work model requires us to adjust our way of working and rethink how we stay connected,” said Ngozi Okeh, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Now, more than ever, we are being intentional about how we are designing for our work models.  This group will work to bridge the gap between different teams to ensure all employees can engage with NextRoll’s DEI opportunities.”

Launching our DEI Advocates Program

Building the DEI Advocates program was a grassroots effort. Our leaders wanted to ensure Rollers were providing input and building the foundation right from the start – since they’re the ones with firsthand knowledge of what works and what doesn't around DEI engagement, along with our DEI leaders. 

At the end of last year, a small group of Rollers started building the program for a 2023 launch. They laid out the group’s mission – to invite, promote, and encourage engagement with DEI events across NextRoll – and created a Slack channel to highlight DEI Programs, ERG Events, DEI and L&D Trainings, and more. This helps ensure they have the right information to engage Rollers on their respective teams, add reminders and callouts to meeting agendas, and drive participation throughout the year. 

“DEI is at the heart of everything in NextRoll, and being part of this group is really an opportunity to contribute to our everyday work life,” said Deirdre Harnett, New Business Sales Representative based in our Dublin office. “I believe in positive impact every day, no matter how big or small, and I am very excited to be part of this group where we work towards real inclusion and support."

Growing our DEI Advocates Program

Promoting our current DEI programs on a more intimate level throughout the company is just the beginning, but what’s great about the group is the opportunity to grow and shape itself based on participation and feedback. 

“The program was created to fill the gap between the DEI programs and functional teams,” said Ngozi. “Some teams are very active in our DEI programs and actively helping us meet our DEI goals. Some teams aren’t as connected to our programs and goals and could benefit from having a member of the team get plugged into the DEI activities and bring the rest of the team along. We also want to be sure that our programs meet the needs of our Rollers. DEI Advocates will also be our partner to let us know if there are topics that our trainings or programs need to address.”

Initially, a half-dozen Rollers raised their hands to become DEI Advocates, but we expect that number will continue to grow as Rollers actively see and hear this group throughout the year. 

“I take immense pride in making sure those around me, regardless of background, feel welcome and ensure they have the support and resources to grow,” said Drew Madison, Sr. Manager of New Business Sales. “I’m beyond excited to assist on the great foundation that NextRoll has already built."

The benefits from this program will reach far and wide and deep within NextRoll – as Rollers become more connected and educated about DEI at work and within their communities. 

“The DEI Advocates will amplify DEI efforts to ensure that employees all over the organization can participate in more DEI programs. Our eight ERGs will also benefit by seeing more engagement,” said Rachelle Geary, Program Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “We're so excited to see Rollers' interest in contributing to this important work and supporting this program’s growth here at NextRoll.”

Learn more about how we thread DEI into our NextRoll Culture!