SC Federal employees embrace diversity in powerful video
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
"I am more than your CEO, I overcame dyslexia." This message on a sign held by South Carolina Federal Credit Union CEO Scott Woods was one of many statements of personal truth shared by employees during a five-minute video that debuted this week on their social media platforms. The video served to kick off Celebrate Diversity Month at South Carolina Federal.
"We're a close-knit work family, and we see each other every day," shared Human Resources Manager Meggan Corbin. "However, sometimes we don't always realize employees' 'unrecognizable truths,’ nor do we know about the experiences that helped to shape their backgrounds." Corbin added that the video "gave employees the opportunity to be vulnerable with each other." The initiative, which was championed by the organization's senior leaders from its inception, resulted in "deeper understanding, transformed perspectives, and personal connections among the credit union's employees."
The credit union, which works to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion on an ongoing basis, researched ideas to educate employees about the importance of diversity in preparation for Celebrate Diversity Month, which is recognized nationally every year in April. Eventually, they landed on the idea of a video project that would offer employees opportunities to share statements about what makes them unique. As the project got underway, Kim McLaughlin, HR Benefits Specialist, reminded employees that "diversity is not just about race and gender; it's also characteristics like socioeconomic status, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, and life experiences."
To make employees feel safe and supported, the HR team took the lead in their communication with staff by sharing their own authentic truths as examples:
"I am a widow."
"I am part of a multi-racial family."
"I am not your stereotypical millennial. I'm hardworking and loyal."
The response to the call to action was overwhelming. From stories of survival to struggle, and from heartbreak to success, employees held signs that told their unique stories.
"The project was eye-opening and emotional for me," observed Paige Turner, South Carolina Federal's Senior Talent Acquisition / Employer Branding Specialist. Turner, who shot and edited the video project, noted that she hired many of the people in the video. "I definitely view my coworkers differently after being a part of this project." Because she works so closely with employment applicants, she also noted that this video "will help candidates to feel confident that they are joining an organization where diversity is celebrated and where they will feel included, accepted, and valued."
HR Coordinator Zoe Watkins explained that employees "should never have to be concerned about hiding their true selves." She stated that the project was her "opportunity to continue to connect with and advocate for employees."
The project team notes that diversity and inclusion is crucial; they foster creativity and a culture that produces out-of-the-box visions and solutions which contribute to the success of the credit union. The team encourages credit unions interested in developing a culture of diversity and inclusion to conduct research on the topic to develop a program that specifically works for their organization.
Some of the team's favorite resources include SHRM, The Muse, Forbes, and LinkedIn. Credit union professionals can view South Carolina Federal's diversity video by visiting @scfederalcareers on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
(Editor's note: how does your credit union embrace diversity and foster an inclusive culture? Login and share it in a comment!)