Bryq is all about eliminating bias. It’s what we do! Our talent assessment software makes it so that companies hire without judgment or bias. This is great for diversity and inclusion efforts, but what happens after you’ve made these new hires? Is your company protecting the rights of these diverse employees? You might think that your Code of Conduct and inclusivity policies are, but they might not be fully protecting the employees that need the most protection.
We recently looked at our Code of Conduct at Bryq and realized that we needed to make some changes to it in order to make it fully inclusive. Don’t get us wrong – our old Code of Conduct was very good! It included inclusive language, protected many Equal Employment Opportunity groups, and had clear guidelines as to how we would enforce the policy. But were we really happy with a “very good” policy? Not at Bryq. We aspire to be great. A diverse group of ‘Bryqsters’ came together and developed a new Code of Conduct that is more inclusive and fully encompasses everything that Bryq is all about. We are proud to share our new Code of Conduct, and are really excited to help you create stronger inclusivity policies.
Pride Month has come and gone – but that doesn’t mean that the conversation about LGBTQ+ rights stops. LGBTQ+ employees are not fully protected by employment law within large parts of the United States. It is also illegal to identify as LGBTQ+ in some parts of the world. It’s up to us to create policies that not only protect these employees, but are also welcoming and inclusive. We wanted to make a policy that not only allows but encourages LGBTQ+ employees to be the most authentic version of themselves.
The first thing we wanted to change within our own policy to make it more inclusive was the language we used. Before we updated our policy, there was no mention of LGBTQ+ employees specifically. We used the words ‘sexual orientation’, ‘gender expression’, and ‘gender identity’, but we wanted to specifically use the phrase ‘LGBTQ+’ to ensure protections for these employees. We also added the wording “perceived or actual” to our policy in front of these terms. There are employees that might not be “out”, or they might be discriminated against for being perceived as LGBTQ+ when they do not actually identify as such. Any discrimination towards perceived or actual LGBTQ+ employees will not be tolerated under any circumstances at Bryq.
Transgender and Nonbinary Protections
We also included sections in our policy that explicitly protect the rights of transgender and nonbinary employees. We added a section about preferred names and pronouns because this is something we feel is really important to get right. While we do require a legal name when onboarding new staff, we make sure that these employees are otherwise addressed and referred to by their preferred names and pronouns. We make it clear that purposefully referring to employees by the incorrect name or pronouns is considered harassment and goes against company policy.
We also added advice on how to address employees whose pronouns you are unsure of, definitions of what pronouns might look like, and a transition plan for employees who plan to begin their transitioning process at work. All employees transitioning at work have full cooperation from our upper-management and Human Resources teams to help them have a smooth transition at Bryq, and will be fully protected post-transition.
We have also added a dress code to our new Code of Conduct. Bryq has never had a formal dress code, because we do not believe that things like clothing or hairstyles matter when our employees clock in at the beginning of their day. We want our employees to dress comfortably and in a way that expresses who they really are. We decided to add a dress code to our Code of Conduct because we wanted to ensure that employees knew that this is how we felt. Many employees choose not to wear certain clothing or style their hair in certain ways out of fear that they might be reprimanded by HR. By including our openness to fashion and style choices, employees can feel comfortable expressing themselves.
There have been many cases of employee discrimination when it comes to hair. Many black and multiracial employees have been discriminated against or even fired from their jobs because they cannot wear their hair in the same styles as non-black employees. This is unacceptable. We felt that we needed to include language in our dress code that protected these employees. We have used language in our new Code of Conduct to ensure that natural hair and both treated and untreated hairstyles are appropriate and encouraged at Bryq. Not everybody has the same hair type – and that’s OK.
We also included more LGBTQ+ language in our dress code. We wanted to ensure that LGBTQ+ employees who identified as transgender, nonbinary, gender-fluid, or gender noncomforming were all accounted for under this dress code. Employees have the right to dress in a way that matches their gender expression or identity.
Additionally, we have also ensured that fashion choices such as hair color, religious garments, body art, and piercings are also acceptable at Bryq. The only thing we will not tolerate are fashion choices that are offensive or hateful, which can be looked further into by viewing our new policy.
Remote Work Expectations
Bryq is a remote-first working environment. When we hire employees, we use our own talent assessment platform to hire based on personality traits and cognitive abilities. This allows us to also hire for culture fit, and even allows us to hire for culture add to help us build upon areas of our culture that we want to improve upon. We set our nets wide. Being remote-first gives us the luxury of hiring top talent from anywhere in the world who share our cultural values.
While there are incredible ways Bryq benefits by having a remote office environment, there are policies that employees must abide by in order for our virtual workplace to thrive and operate smoothly. We felt that we really needed to put these policies in writing, so we added a new section about the expectations we have in our virtual workplace. Employees need to understand that things like language and sense of humor vary greatly across cultures, so they need to communicate with this in mind. They should also be respectful of things like time zones and body language used.
Responsibility and Accountability
In our previous Code of Conduct, the CEO held responsibility for enforcing our policies. We felt that this wasn’t enough. We have now included the Bryq HR Team in enforcing these policies, as well as employees needing to hold themselves accountable for their words and actions. Responsibility and accountability need to be team efforts. We have also introduced clearer and more efficient protocol of reporting and handling workplace incidents, and changed many of our “may take action” phrases to “will take action” phrases. We wanted to be clear that we are serious about the comfort and the rights of all of our employees, and that we will do whatever it takes to ensure a happy and healthy workplace for every ‘Bryqster’ that works here. Our Code of Conduct needed to mirror our shared values and our culture.
We are really proud of our new policy changes, and we would love to share our policy with other companies to help them create stronger, more inclusive policies. Please click the file attached below to view Bryq’s new Code of Conduct and see the changes we have made to ensure that our policy is free from discrimination and inclusive to all. Download this template and change it to make it uniquely your own!
Download Template Below ⬇️