Be the voice

June 30, 2020

Together, apart

When we kicked off the new year, I think we all had high hopes for what 2020 would hold. At the time, COVID-19 wasn't high on our radar. But, only a few months later, we made the decision to shift our employees to a work-from-home scenario in response to the virus.

Early on in our work-from-home scenario, we adopted a “Together, apart” campaign to focus on staying connected, even from a distance. Little did we know how meaningful that phrase would become…

If we fast forward to where we are today — halfway through 2020 — I can’t help but think back on the amount of change we’ve all had to experience over such a short amount of time. The world may feel like it’s turned upside down, but our LeasePlan motto of standing “Together” remains. Here are some of the ways in which we’re pursuing unity during a season of uncertainty and unrest…

Be the voice

The racial injustices have been a particularly heavy topic within our LeasePlan community. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others havecaused so many Americans to give extra thought to racial tensions within our nation. We wanted to give our people a safe place to voice their thoughts, feelings and concerns, so LeasePlan's Diversity and Inclusion Committee hosted voluntary "Be the Voice” discussion forums during the month of June. In these sessions, small groups of employees joined a virtual meeting to share their personal experiences and discuss how recent events have affected their loved ones. It’s been such a powerful conversation for our LeasePlan community, and it’s one we plan to continue for the foreseeable future as we continue to fight for justice and be the voice for equality.

Pride month

On Monday, June 15, the Supreme Court ruled to further protect the rights of its citizens by making it illegal for organizations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Although LeasePlan has, for some time, upheld its own policies to protect employees from discrimination — including discrimination based on sexual orientation — the federal court’s ruling marks a landmark decision to provide even greater protection for U.S. citizens, particularly those in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s fitting that this ruling was made during the month of June, which is Pride Month! Our LeasePlan Diversity & Inclusion committee is excited to continue supporting all members of our employee community — after all, inclusion isn’t optional!

Juneteenth

This month, we also celebrated “Juneteenth” on Friday, June 19. To educate our employee community on Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, we shared a one-page summary with the business to explain what this day means for our Black community. While Juneteenth remains a celebration of historical emancipation, it also serves to remind us of the ongoing struggle for civil rights in the U.S. We believe education is one of the first steps we can take to cultivating a culture of acceptance and inclusion, so we’re going to be offering additional training courses for our LeasePlan employees to promote inclusion — both within the workplace and without.

Bias training

As part of our ongoing goal to educate our employees, we required all LeasePlanners to complete a virtual training course on unconscious bias. This course was incredibly powerful for me, and I know so many others within our LeasePlan group found it helpful. Unconscious bias is one of those hard-to-identify thoughts that can sneak into our conversation and negatively impact our relationships with others. I’m very glad we made the decision to offer this course to our employees — it’s the first of several trainings we’ll offer to continue promoting diversity and inclusion in our workplace.

What's next

With all that’s going on in our country, both now and in the months to come, the LeasePlan community must continue to stand together. We’re excited to continue offering “Be the Voice” sessions for our employees, and we’ll soon be introducing a Diversity & Inclusion Pledge to give our employees the opportunity to be a voice for change within our organization and our communities at large.
We’re committed to making LeasePlan a safe place for all, so we will continue to advocate for diversity and be a voice for inclusion — always with the goal of building a stronger, more unified LeasePlan for the success of our customers,our employees and our communities.

About the author:

Alanna Mahone is the executive vice president, human resources, for LeasePlan USA, a global leader in fleet management services. She has over fifteen years’ experience in organizational development, employee development, performance and change management; with demonstrated success leveraging human capital resources to achieve business results.