This year at Asana, we recognized the need for an ever-evolving strategy to engender belonging. So we decided to create two new Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) in the past year—Blacsana, our ERG for Black Asanas, and Asanapac, our ERG for Pan Asian and Pacific Islander communities. These new ERGs sparked curiosity around the role our Gradient ERG could play within the organization. As a result, Gradient’s mission shifted from serving communities of color to serving our growing multicultural global workforce.
Employee Resource Groups are at the core of our inclusion efforts here at Asana. We believe they are powerful tools to engender a culture of belonging.
Through our ERGs, we build community, help the organization develop literacy around diversity and inclusion (D&I), support attracting diverse talent, and build the next generation of leaders while contributing to the overall success, happiness, and engagement of all employees. Also, these groups help us bring our commitment to becoming an anti-racist organization to life.
What is Gradient?
Gradient’s new mission is to honor and celebrate multicultural and intersectional identities. We strive to engender a multicultural perspective at Asana through initiatives that promote empathy, cultural competence, and allyship. Multiculturalism embraces diversity among the different dimensions of race, ethnicity, culture, and beyond. It supports cultural pluralism and fosters cultural awareness and fluency. Through Gradient’s work, we hope to engender a multicultural perspective, validate and make space for a multitude of identities, and to empower all Asanas to be active allies.
We reflected on the unique role that Gradient could play to support our growing global community of people with multicultural identities. Going back to the drawing board, we contemplated on the tenants of multiculturalism to evolve our understanding of how we can ensure people from diverse backgrounds have a home and community to embrace them at Asana. We wanted to be agile and intentional in supporting our organization’s evolving needs.
As our global community and company grows, we understand that it is important to develop multicultural competence and literacy. We hope to support Asanas being able to work across cultures and differences with humility.
Setting a lasting foundation for Gradient and building a more inclusive workplace at Asana
Our main goal is to continue having Asana be a welcoming and safe space for all to feel comfortable bringing the parts of themselves they need to thrive in the workplace. Since our re-launch, we’ve rallied our community and created programming to support and bring our new mission to life.
At Asana, each ERG has the honor of leading and developing the program planning for one tentpole month out of the year. Historically, Latinx Heritage Month is the tentpole month that Gradient leads, and we celebrated this special month as a company for a while. Gradient just wrapped up Latinx Heritage Month 2021, which spanned September 15 to October 15. We included special programming centered around celebrating and amplifying Latinx voices. We hosted three special events, including a Q&A with janitor-turned-VP Executive at Fritolay—and the person credited for creating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos—Richard Montañez on building a flamin’ hot career without losing your identity.
Another way we support our multicultural communities and our employees is by facilitating open discussion forums through our Monthly Lunches and our Real Talk events. We often work with other ERGs like Team Rainbow and AsanaWomen to co-create these discussions, incorporating themes and topics that impact our communities. In the past, we’ve discussed topics like using joy as a form of resistance and how our communities can show up as better allies during the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Allyship is another important topic to all ERGs at Asana. Through our work, we hope to model the behavior we want to see and encourage in others. Showing up for each other is crucial to building the allyship muscle, and we acknowledge there is power in numbers. In the near future, we have goals of continuing to build on the foundational work we’ve done when it comes to being anti-racist and good allies.
By connecting with other ERG communities, we also model multicultural connections and develop an understanding of how we can best support, encourage, and amplify each other’s efforts. Our ERG efforts directly relate to the efforts of our Diversity & Inclusions Team, and collectively we’re helping Asanas develop the necessary skills to be active allies both inside and outside of work. It’s a privilege to be a part of our ERG leadership team and to be a steward of this important work.
Looking ahead with Gradient
Everything that Gradient does is centered around the principle of ensuring that all Asanas feel welcomed, celebrated, and fully seen. Gradient acknowledges that people with multicultural identities navigate multiple (if not various) cultural norms and values from each of their cultural affiliations and that this is a unique experience. Therefore, we hope to create safe spaces for people with multicultural identities to explore both the superpowers that their identities grant them and the unique challenges to navigating multiple cultures.
By partnering with our D&I team, we help support our inclusion and belonging efforts and truly live out our values. As we think ahead, we hope to set up the next generation of changemakers. We also hope to inspire other organizations to support their ERGs, which truly are a valuable asset to any organization.
If you’d love to join us in our mission of creating a culture of belonging at Asana, we’d love to hear from you! Learn more about life at Asana on our Careers site and make sure to check out our open positions.