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D, E, & I at Oxygen in 2022

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At Oxygen, our purpose commits us to creating digital leaders, whether that’s helping clients digitally transform through HubSpot and digital marketing services or creating an environment where our team can flourish into industry leaders. We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion lies at the core and that diverse perspectives help us to grow and innovate, and inclusivity enables us to create better products and services. 

Challenge

Despite how fast paced the city is, its progress on inclusivity has been significantly delayed. Hong Kong is undeniably diverse, but that hasn’t naturally led to inclusion, equity, and belonging.

Hong Kong’s workplace D, E, & I wins are modest compared to the rest of the world, for example, the overall percentage of female line managers rose from 39% to 40% in 2019, meaning the city is on track to achieving parity by 2029.

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), a government body committed to equality in the workplace, in 2021 the highest number of complaints received were for disability discrimination, followed by sex discrimination. 

The Race Discrimination Ordinance, which is legislation that prevents racial discrimination, was only instated in 2009. The most recent publication by the EOC fails to include any statistics on sexual orientation. 

In Hong Kong, governing bodies and institutions hardly collect and publish any data on LGBTQ+ acceptance in Hong Kong, leaving us in the past, and vulnerable to harmful personal and cultural biases leaking into workplaces. 

In an effort to catch up with the rest of the world, Oxygen has committed to take steps to create a culture of belonging and empowerment. We are collecting and analysing data, providing training and development opportunities and adapting internal policies to ensure that everyone is supported to reach their full potential.

Gender Equality

Gender equality in Hong Kong companies reflects the same around the world, that there are more men present in the workplace than women. At Oxygen, our fair and equal hiring practices have resulted in a gender distribution of 57% that identify as women and 43% that identify as men, as of March, 2022.

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To ensure that equality is practised at all levels, we base our salaries purely on experience and skill, not gender or any other factor, and are proud to say that there is no gender pay gap at Oxygen.

Sexual Orientation

Earlier this year, we were recognised by Google as an LGBTQ+ friendly organisation, and were listed as a supporting organisation of the Equal Love coalition that calls for LGBTQ+ employees to be treated equally. After listening to employee feedback, conducting research and brainstorming within the HR and management teams, we took action to share our values of acceptance, allyship, and belonging across the organisation.
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In March, 2022, we collected data to better understand our team and use data to inform our subsequent D, E, & I initiatives, and found that around one fifth of the team identify as LGBTQIA+.

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In June, 2022, we celebrated pride month by decorating our office with pride flags, hosting a movie night, playing pride bingo and designing our own pride t-shirts together as a team. This month-long series of events sparked engaging discussions and allowed the team to connect on new levels, inspiring a great sense of togetherness.

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Racial, Religious, Cultural, and Ethnic Equality

The team at Oxygen is built from people of all different backgrounds, and in 2022 we have made an effort to understand different cultures and perspectives through research, and promote a sense of community and belonging by providing events. Data from March, 2022, shows that the team at Oxygen comes from six racial and ethnic groups and speaks seven different languages.

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To honour everyone’s heritage, we offered a number of events and opportunities to showcase our diversity and increase belonging. 

In July, 2022, Oxygen hosted its first world culture day, which offered team members an opportunity to bring in food that represents their cultural background, and share facts, experiences and connect over food, which is a huge part of any culture.

The HR team also offered an event to celebrate the international day of the world’s Indigenous peoples, which consisted of a webinar hosted by the UN, a presentation on facts about Indigenous people, followed by a trivia quiz. 

In October, 2022, we celebrated Diwali at Oxygen. Diwali is one of the most significant festivals for those who practise Hinduism and Sikhism. To mark the occasion, team members brought in Indian snacks, sweets and tea and enjoyed them together, and applied intricate henna designs.

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Training

Our HR team attended a conference with other HR and D, E, & I professionals, that gave them the chance to hear experts in the field share cutting edge ideas, research and strategies, how they’ve been implemented and the impact they’ve had. This valuable experience, which was first of its kind in Hong Kong, has helped inform our internal strategy too.

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The HR team at Oxygen has also delivered training to the team to increase awareness and sensitivity to specific issues. For autism awareness month in April, the HR team delivered a workshop followed by activities to raise awareness and start a conversation around Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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Charity

We understand the value of giving back to strengthen our community, and have made an effort to offer monthly charity opportunities to our team. These events and fundraisers have helped us raise awareness for specific issues, collect individual donations and provided the opportunity to take a step back, reflect, and bond.
In relation to D, E, & I in 2022, we raised funds through events and donated to the Hong Kong Sports Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, and MindHK, an NGO that aims to raise awareness around mental health

Mental Health and Wellbeing

We recognize that in order to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, we must continuously work to create an environment where everyone feels safe, respected and supported.  To contribute to that, we are also engaging in meaningful conversations with our employees to ensure that everyone has a voice and that we are listening to their perspectives.

We prioritise mental health, and have signed the Metal Health Workplace Charter, committing to the charter statement to “value and pledge to promote a mental health-friendly workplace environment”. 

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To honour that, we hosted a tea break for our team to relax, reflect, and share their views on mental health, and what Oxygen can do to better support the team. This informal discussion encouraged team members to open up, be heard and supported.

Impact

Oxygen’s efforts to prioritise D, E, &I and ingrain it into business practices has translated into increased levels of happiness, higher morale and satisfaction across the team. On glassdoor, our D, E, & I efforts have been highly rated, with only 5 star reviews, and positive feedback about the strategy, events and other offerings have been reflected in our monthly eNPS scores. In our diversity survey we asked for feedback about what we have done right, and received the following feedback:

  • Oxygen always makes me feel confident with our diverse and equitable working environment, I know people care about my thoughts and feelings.
  • Oxygen's hiring process really focuses on 'human' in human resources. It only hires people who exude non-judgemental vibes. I have never experienced or have come across any new hire who was cunning or classist.

Looking Ahead

Goals for 2023:

  1. Collect diversity data on a bi-annual basis and publish our findings on our social media to increase transparency about our diversity goals and strategy.
  2. Provide management training that is integrated with key concepts of D, E, & I, such as prejudice and bias, with the goal of consistent and fair management across the company.
  3. Double the budget allocated towards D, E & I efforts to ensure that we are taking actions towards our goals through our hiring practices, training, and event offerings.

We are focused on creating global digital leaders who are culturally competent and capable of working across boundaries. We recognize that in order to create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, we must continuously work to create an environment where everyone feels safe, respected and supported. While we have achieved great success in 2022, we are committed to learning and adapting in 2023 to make Oxygen the best company to work at.

Nandini Ahuja-Sethi

About the Author

HR Business Partner at Oxygen on a mission to create the best workplace in the world

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