Better Conversations: Diversity Initiatives That Make a Difference

Ashley Jezek | May 28, 2021

Diversity and inclusion are topics driving conversations throughout society. Paycom took the initiative to support diversity of thought and give its staff a forum where they can engage with these issues by creating the Better Conversations sessions.

“We had a sense that those discussions were occurring, and we wanted to help facilitate them on a larger scale and really weave them into our culture,” explained Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s vice president of human resources. In these safe spaces, employees can engage in an open dialogue or simply provide a listening ear for those wanting to share their thoughts and feelings about the topics important to them.

Better Conversations is an important part of Paycom’s diversity, inclusion and belonging focus. This effort works to ensure employees feel heard and valued for who they are by creating a safe environment to share their story and be their authentic selves. Each session is led by a trained facilitator helping participants share their stories in response to each other to create more productive conversations.

Sessions are scheduled at regular intervals throughout the year, and the topics chosen for Better Conversations are always evolving in response to current events and the needs of our participants. Past topics have included women in technology, diversity, mental health and parenting. Sessions are open to all employees, regardless of department or position.

Jake, a team lead at Paycom, admits he didn’t know what to expect when he signed up. “I was excited to see people open up to each other and share their life experiences,” he said. “The most impactful thing that I took away was that not everybody sees the same situation through the same lens. You never know what somebody has gone through or is currently going through that might bring out different emotions when faced with the same scenario.”

It’s not just the participants who find something of value in these sessions. Kesha, a Better Conversations facilitator, found more than she expected. “As a facilitator, I thought I was just coming to connect people to each other, but I didn’t know that I would take away just as much as the participants,” she said. “The beauty in facilitating these sessions is that I get to help participants practice bringing their whole self to the table, and by default, I feel connected to something bigger than myself.”

The sessions rely on the talking/listening model to create an empathetic, interactive experience emphasizing diversity of thought. “I got to share my story and how that made me who I am today. Hearing others share their stories are just as impactful, and it really lets us reflect on how unique and wonderful everyone is and see how much progress we have made as a generation,” said Hilda, a participant from the Paycom Services department.

Better Conversations was conceived as a way to bring employees together and strengthen the workplace community bond by giving them a place to be themselves. Charity, a team lead in the sales department, summarizes the experience in a single word: uplifting. “The best way to truly understand others is to simply listen and be open to hearing their unique perspective,” she said.

For more information about Better Conversations, you can read about it in our blog, hear our leadership discuss the initiative in the HR Break Room® or learn more in our corporate responsibility report.

To be part of a company that recognizes the authentic value in each member of the team, consider applying for a position at Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Ashley Jezek
Ashley Jezek
As a recruiting marketer for Paycom, Ashley Jezek helps the recruiting teams determine their goals and assists with strategy development. Her efforts include campaign management, engaging with top talent and increasing brand awareness. After earning a public relations degree from the University of Oklahoma, Jezek served as marketing team lead for OU's Tom Love Innovation Hub and joined Paycom as a marketing database specialist. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, attending concerts and cooking.