Why is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Important to Stoneridge? Q&A With Chief People Officer Jennifer Theisen

By Carly Erickson | August 23, 2023

Meet The Team Jennifer Theisen

Team culture has always been important at Stoneridge Software, but over the past year, leadership has been focusing on efforts to set a strong Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) foundation for the future. This isn't unique to Stoneridge, many companies are realizing the importance DEIB initiatives make in maintaining workplace culture, psychological safety, and retention among employees. Here is an interview with Chief People Officer Jennifer Theisen to shed some light on our journey.

Q: Why is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) important to Stoneridge?

A: There is a popular quote by Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” I love that quote because it shows you can have a strong strategy with all kinds of business processes in place, but it’s the human element of a business that drives those things. If you don’t have a workforce that’s engaged and feels a sense of belonging and inclusion, your team as a whole will not be moving in the same direction or headed toward the same goal.

You can recruit as many people as you want from diverse pools of candidates, but the key is making sure people feel included. If people join our team and don’t feel a sense of belonging or that they can share their ideas and voice their opinions, they’re more likely to leave. From a retention standpoint, it’s important to us because people want to work where they feel valued.

Q: Why is building a DEIB foundation important to Stoneridge?

A: We are a fast-paced, values-driven company, and one of our core values is ‘enjoy our work.’ We all want to feel included, heard, and valued. That means cultivating an environment with psychological safety for team members, so people feel free to express themselves and be their best selves at work. If employees don’t have these things that are so intrinsic to workplace culture and engagement, then we won’t be able to keep people here.

Along with that, a majority of our team is remote. We know that individuals who work from home can feel a sense of disconnect or isolation. The more we can build a culture of inclusivity, the more we can help build connections, increase employee satisfaction, and lessen burnout.

Q: What value do DEIB initiatives bring to a company and each individual?

A: From a business perspective, it’s well-documented that organizations that emphasize DEIB in the workplace have improved business outcomes, faster innovation, and better representation to their clients. From an individual perspective, it’s about making sure we’re creating an environment and culture where people see themselves as part of the company.

Q: Where is Stoneridge at in our DEIB journey?

We’re in the beginning stages of what we want to see here from a DEIB perspective. This year is about setting a strong foundation and making sure we have practices in place that support our initiatives, ensuring that everything that follows is a success. We're also taking strides to educate our team by providing resources and tools to help everybody understand what this foundation means and what it looks like at Stoneridge.

We’ve got a journey ahead of us with many mileposts, but we’ve taken an important first step.

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