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3 Ways Leaders Can Demonstrate DEI Buy-Ins

Having DEI goals is great, however, without a buy-in from the leaders of your company, your goals may never materialize into solid plans. In his work as a consultant, Taris Mullins, who is currently the Diversity and Inclusion, and Talent Management Lead at Telesign, saw time and time again the importance of having a leadership buy-in when it comes to implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

“If you don't have that buy-in and that clear commitment from senior leaders, it then trickles down to every single layer of the organization, so you're already diluting the efforts from the beginning,” Mullins said.

However, Taris says Telesign is different, and the leaders there have not only given a buy-in, they have made it clear to everyone in the organization how much DEI means to them. In the latest episode of the “Untapped” podcast, Taris explains some of the ways the leaders at Telesign are demonstrating their DEI commitment.

1. Investing Time and Money

“One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received early in my career is that you know an organization's priorities by the way they spend their time and their money,” Taris recalls. And Telesign has definitely been diligent about dedicating time and money to DEI, so everyone knows just how much of a priority it is there.

One way the company has done this is by investing time, and not to mention money, in having Taris speak to employees around the world in person about their experiences at the organization.

“I think one of the biggest opportunities we've had as an organization is how we've invited every single member of our team to be part of the conversation,” Taris said. “That may include me flying over to meet with members of our team based in Belgrade, Serbia—where just over half of our company is based—to understand what their experience has been in the community, on the ground. I ask, ‘How can I impact your experience? What do I need to do differently? How do I stitch together for you to connect with colleagues in the United States, or with colleagues based in Latin America, Asia, or other demographic spaces around the world?’”

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2. Creating Pipeline Partnerships

In this job market where candidates are calling the shots more than ever, Telesign understands that the company has to take the initiative to show up in different communities, since candidates from underserved groups won’t necessarily come to them. One way that Telesign shows up is through its pipeline partnerships that demonstrate how everyone at the company has a voice—even people from backgrounds that historically haven’t necessarily been given one. For example, a vital partnership Telesign has made is with EuroPride in order to celebrate LGBTQIA+ communities.

“That's a huge opportunity for us to continue to position Telesign as an organization that wants diversity, equity, and inclusion, to be what we lead with, not what we add on,” said Taris. “It's not additive; it's integrative to how we do our work and it's deeply embedded in what we do.”

3. Participating in Diversity Programs 

Another way Telesign leaders demonstrate their DEI buy-in is by not only organizing company events designed to uplift members of different communities, but also making it a point to attend them.

“For Pride Month, we hosted a company-wide event just to celebrate and uplift the experiences of members of the community, which I'm also part of. One of the things I love is it’s understood that we first and foremost, start with ensuring that our entire C-suite is available and present,” he said. “It's not just something the ERG is leading or my team is leading. Our CEO is there every single time and expects people to show up and be present and engaged. And that sends a compelling message back to the organization that every one of us has to be part of us. And it's a priority. It's a commitment.”

And it’s this commitment that helps illustrate how much DEI means to the leaders of Telesign, which has helped to build trust within the organization because authenticity is part of the culture.

“Being authentic is one of our core values and we intentionally embedded it into who we are as an organization,” Taris said. “Telesign wanted to ensure that every single person knows—regardless of how you identify and who you are—you can come here and be yourself completely. We're going to do whatever we can to make sure you're celebrated and seen.” 

To learn more about how Telesign employees are celebrated and seen, as well as how Taris’s DEI career was born out of tragedy, listen to the latest episode of the “Untapped” podcast, where host Tariq Meyers has poignant conversations with practitioners who are making waves in the industry.

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