'Everyone needs to own culture – because everyone's a part of it'

Duck Creek Technologies' DEI director on how belonging has bloomed post-pandemic

'Everyone needs to own culture – because everyone's a part of it'

Post-pandemic, building trust has proven to be a bone of contention for employers. Going from that in-office, in-person dynamic to a wholly remote set-up means that building relationships and maintaining culture became an absolute must.

Speaking to HRD, Amy Bayer, global director of DEI, engagement and culture at Duck Creek Technologies, she says that questions around employee relationships and cultivating belonging came to the fore thanks to the pandemic.

“In my role now I’m really thinking about culture, belonging and inclusion,” she says. “Looking at the data from our surveys, we know we’re doing great with belonging – however, you do hear employees saying ‘I don’t really know my colleagues’. Perhaps they feel like they belong but want to get to know everyone. How do they get to be part of that group? How do they get to know the culture? These questions are top of mind right now.”

Building culture across a hybrid workforce is no mean feat. According to research from Great Place To Work®, remote and hybrid workers report a lack of meaningful work and sense of belonging, with only two in three remote employees saying they could “be their true self at work.”

This is why it’s so essential that employers have the right tools and techniques in place to foster that culture of connectivity.

“We’re just working out the contracts on that right now,” says Bayer. “I need to find the tools to get those things to happen. We have offices where people go for those more impactful moments, but it’s those daily moments – those off coffee chats – looking at ways to make that happen with both employees and executives.”

Bayer also cites mentorship, looking at facilitating that away from the office, as an interesting challenge.

“I think we’re all trying to figure it out as we go. There’s a lot of great tools out there to use that I didn’t have when I started my career- and that’s very exciting to us right now.”

This belonging element is key for ensuring future success down the line – especially with candidate and employee expectations around culture having been transformed since COVID. Bayer herself says that one of her proudest achievements was investing these elements within their Employee Experience Council.

“It’s about making this grassroots,” she says. “That was one of the things I learned early in my career – that if these initiatives just come from HR they inevitably fail. Everybody needs to own culture – because everyone’s a part of it.”

This sense of togetherness came to fruition recently in Duck Creek’s Summit, where Bayer brought together over 60 leaders from across the globe.

“Our theme was connection, culture and community- and I'm still smiling about it,” she tells HRD. “It was an incredible experience to get all these thought leaders in the room. We really worked on how to improve everything, how to make things better.

“We got to know each other better, to learn together- and we had a lot of laughs. It was one of those impactful moments that makes such a difference because you meet people cross functionally that you wouldn't normally get to work with. And I’m super proud of that.”

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