A Decade Later: Fortude Continues To Spearhead Initiatives for an Inclusive Culture Where ‘Everyone Belongs’
Celebrating a decade of operations, Fortude is a global technology solutions provider whose solutions empower organizations across industries. Its position as an Infor Global Alliance Partner and a Microsoft Gold Partner for data analytics and data platform makes Fortude a preferred solutions provider to some of the world’s leading brands. With offices in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, and Sri Lanka and project locations worldwide, Fortude provides global opportunities for its 450-strong employee base. As the company continues to grow, it remains committed to preserving its diverse and inclusive culture that has allowed its employees to succeed for a decade.
Inside Fortude’s inclusive culture
There are numerous studies on the benefits of workplace diversity. For example, according to research conducted by McKinsey, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams are more likely to experience above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.
As a global company, Fortude has individuals of various cultures and backgrounds within its workforce. Over the years, they’ve learned to embrace these differences, creating a safe space where employees can be themselves to the fullest. Fortude’s work culture allows its employees to grow regardless of who they are, with robust policies to eliminate harassment and discrimination. Its policies also consider employees’ interests and commitments outside the company and help improve their lives.
Nurturing a diverse and inclusive culture
Fortude is taking an internal and external approach to creating a progressive D&I work culture. These efforts are taken to disseminate accurate information, encourage acceptance, and create awareness about what Fortude is doing and what can be done to further build upon their existing values, which embody caring, humility, and integrity, to create an empathetic culture. Recruits are encouraged to join internal ‘Better Together’ discussion sessions, which discuss Fortude’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) journey, policies against discrimination, the effects of unconscious bias, and how to work against it.
Another simple activity is an internal calendar of days with religious, cultural, or international significance. On these particular days, information and interesting facts about the event and its importance are shared among employees. The global team is encouraged to send images and videos about how they celebrate these days. To help add other perspectives to their approach to D&I, Fortude also works with external stakeholders to get their input and create action plans. Some external stakeholders the company has worked with include Diversity Collective Sri Lanka (DCLK) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), to name a few.
Challenges conquered on the road to Diversity & Inclusion
Over the decade, Fortude has grown to become a global entity with individuals from diverse cultures under its umbrella. Creating and maintaining an open space where such differences can flourish is not without its challenges. As operations grew in scale and the global pandemic struck, the company shifted most interactions online.
Hence, Fortude revised its efforts to communicate and educate to ensure inclusivity across its workforce. A notable initiative is the company’s quarterly international team meeting that brings together the leadership and employees. In these, sector heads from each region share information about upcoming events and cultural relevance. It also functions as a business meeting where the company’s progress is displayed for the employees to celebrate and learn from. Thus, enabling a transparent and global culture.
Further, creating a D&I culture among employees of different cultures with varying social norms is a challenge that any organization cannot ignore. For example, how the LGBTIQ+ community is perceived in Sri Lanka differs from that in the USA. For any global organization, such differences must be considered when creating and implementing D&I policies to maintain a positive culture.
The future – ‘where everyone belongs’
The company remains committed to building an inclusive culture for its employees with its latest initiatives on improving gender inclusivity and inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ community. Joining hands with external stakeholders such as IFC with its ‘Together We Can+’ initiative, Fortude is committed to carrying out several actions. These include sensitization programs, surveys to understand what can be improved by management, and discussions with LGBTIQ+ employees about their experiences. Further, the company has also updated its Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement to reaffirm its commitment to offering fair opportunities to all.
Fortude also plans to continue its online awareness campaigns regarding gender equality and its interactive learning sessions about toxic gender stereotypes. These efforts include initiatives to promote a more mindful use of language. Moving forward, the company is looking toward expanding its efforts to offer opportunities to those with disabilities.
The technology industry, having broken many traditional barriers, is uniquely positioned to spearhead diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, it’s a continuous journey of learning and understanding. Fortude’s leadership at all levels is open to change and remains committed to preserving its inclusive culture where employees feel represented, appreciated, and can achieve their full potential.