Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
An interview with our CEO and founder, Matt Bogaard, on BGI’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts.
What does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) mean to you personally?
I was very fortunate to have grown up in a large family, the youngest of four, and the son of very progressive, forward-thinking parents. In my formative years, I attended public schools until Eighth Grade. Those schools were very diverse. While the term “DEI” had not been coined back then, the practice of including everyone, valuing diversity, and embracing varying perspectives, has been an ongoing theme in my life since I was young. While all of us carry some level of bias, myself included, the concept of equality in all ways has always been my life philosophy.
Companies across America are stepping up their DEI efforts. How is BGI leveling up its training and awareness?
I believe that DEI is here to stay and is not just temporary or trendy. At BGI, we are taking steps we feel are necessary to level up our DEI training and awareness for the long haul. Our goal is to gain insight from our employees on all levels to ensure that our strong leadership team is reinforcing our values on a day-to-day basis. We are currently in the process of implementing DEI training that will be available for all BGI employees to attend. BGI is consistently evaluating its hiring and recruiting processes to reflect and reinforce our values. Our goal is to build ongoing educational and training programs for BGI employees in order to implement systemic change into our company culture. It is important at BGI that we share and communicate our thoughts and have these conversations regularly within our workforce in order to build a supportive and inclusive culture.
DEI seems to be one of the key topics in the news today and certainly in the workplace. What are some of the reasons for that?
DEI is prevalent more than ever in today’s workplace and news space because of the events that have taken place in the last year. The pandemic, protests in the US, and the global economic crisis are just a few examples of ways that have created an awakening for leaders who might have not been engaged with these issues before. Now more than ever, leaders are asking how they can make a difference. At BGI, it is our objective as an entire organization to make sure the leadership team executes DEI efforts and encourages conversation amongst all employees in order to achieve this systemic change.
How does BGI recruit, hire, and retain a diverse workforce?
BGI currently sustains an outlook on recruiting, hiring, and retaining with a diverse mindset. BGI does not just post job openings on our website, we specifically utilize our recruiting team to go and recruit candidates from all types of locations and backgrounds to create a mixed and inclusive candidate pool. This process allows us to make sure we are diligent in our hiring procedure and retaining and obtaining a diverse workforce that aligns with our company culture’s values of integrity, partnership, and transformational change. Our leadership team consistently communicates and holds conversations with our recruiting team about eliminating unconscious bias and creating gender and ethnically neutral job descriptions that eliminate age and other identifiers in the recruiting process. As a company, we are currently evaluating and expanding on how we can continue to improve our recruiting, hiring, and retention initiatives with diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The private security industry has traditionally been overrepresented by white males. Is this changing and evolving?
Traditionally, corporate security and security consulting jobs have been filled by former law enforcement and former military. This should not surprise anyone since so many tactile skills from those careers translated nicely into creating a safe and secure workplace. A number of things have changed, however. First, women are given more of an opportunity to select various careers in law enforcement and the military. This cascades into private sector roles. Second, as physical security demands become increasingly linked to cybersecurity risk, the need for unique skill sets and different types of experience has opened the doors to engineers, cyber sleuths, and intelligence analysts. Those types of roles are often sought out by younger professionals of all types of backgrounds. Third, organizations are clearly seeing the value of diversity to maximize the performance of their teams.
You’ve said that DEI is here to stay and it’s not temporary or trendy. Can you explain what you mean?
The now widely used term DEI might be new to some, the concept of hiring people with varying backgrounds, different levels of education, and differing perspectives has been one of my initial commitments when the company was founded in 2014. To be clear, though, I am not interested in stocking our growing workforce with diverse employees so that we can “check the box” with some superficial statistical forms to the State of California or so I can brag that we are meeting some employment compliance mandate. Research has been unequivocal that there are enormous benefits to having a diverse workforce, not for some compliance requirements, but because diverse teams actually perform better. So, while having a workforce that is well-represented by people of different backgrounds, the true value is not in employment reporting, it has intrinsic value to our strength, our longevity, and our growth as an organization.