How we’ve used our intranet to improve diversity and inclusion over the past two years

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is hard work and requires total commitment, a solid strategy, and a lot of cooperation. For some organizations, it can often feel like their actions towards DEI work are never enough.

We understand these challenges, and have worked hard to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture at OXD. We wanted to share how we use our sister company ThoughtFarmer’s Intranet product, which we named “Sparky”, to support our DEI efforts.

OXD has long valued DEI, and in 2020 we announced our actions towards continuing and improving our efforts. Volunteers across our practices formed a project team, “DANDI” (diversity and inclusion), to support ongoing DEI initiatives.

As part of these initiatives, we created a section on diversity and inclusion on Sparky. This way, helpful links and company information for our DEI work and initiatives are accessible to all employees. Some of the content in this section includes our internal initiatives, issues of our Diversity and Inclusion newsletter, Truth and Reconciliation resources, DEI workshop materials, and other reading and resource links.

OXD also takes advantage of ThoughtFarmer’s name pronunciation feature. This feature enables users to record an audio segment of themselves correctly pronouncing their name. The audio clip is then added to an employee’s profile page.

The addition of a pronoun field allows staff to add their preferred identity—another important step in demonstrating respect and inclusion for all. This optional field is displayed prominently beside the user's name on their profile.

Using Intranet For DEI profile page showing an employee with a headshot, name, title, and pronouns

We use the intranet to share mental health resources, like information on anxiety and self-management strategies, as well as links to the Canadian Mental Health Association website for more resources. We include quick access to our extended medical insurance policy information on counselling coverage. Staff can also leave comments on tips and actions they take to help with their own mental health and wellbeing.

Using Intranet For DEI Mental Health Comments from when COVID-19 pandemic started on our wellness page
Comments on our mental health and wellness resources page when the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.

Our DEI work emphasizes transparency, helping us stay accountable and authentic to the work we’re doing. By surfacing our staff contributions and combined efforts on our intranet, we’re encouraged to keep taking action towards our goals.

Having brand values and a leadership team that supports inclusivity helps us create and sustain a workplace environment that is inclusive and accessible for all.

While DEI initiatives can take a lot of effort, we feel it’s important that we don’t get discouraged. Every step in the right direction, no matter how small, is an important step towards making our world a more equitable and just place.

At OXD we believe that design and the tools of the digital age should be used to benefit everyone equally. Learning to be inclusive in design is an ongoing practice, and we’d like to share our journey with you.

Subscribe to our Design for Inclusivity newsletter.