Bringing Our Whole Selves To Work

May 16, 2023 12:50 PM ET

Originally published in Quest Diagnostics 2021 Corporate Responsibility Report

Welcoming our Director, Inclusion and Diversity

Desyra Highsmith Holcomb recently joined Quest as Director, Inclusion and Diversity (I&D). This central New Jersey native and Rutgers graduate came to us from RWJBarnabas Health, where she was Director of Diversity and Inclusion, HR Strategic Initiatives. Core to Desyra’s role is working with Quest leaders to establish and implement I&D priorities and goals throughout the business. She leads the ongoing development and implementation of our inclusion and diversity strategies that are critical to our business, in partnership with executive, business, regional, and Human Resources leadership. Desyra serves as a leader in the development of effective strategies, practices, and policies to facilitate a more inclusive environment that benefits our business, colleagues, communities, and all additional stakeholders. In addition, she acts as an advisor to the Quest Inclusion and Diversity Council (QIDC).

What leaders say and do, the stories we share, and the principles we live by

How we identify, hire, develop, and listen to top diverse talent

How we incorporate diverse insights for the benefit of our clients and communities

Fostering our culture

At Quest Diagnostics, I&D is woven into who we are and what we do. We consistently invite new perspectives and embrace new experiences, which helps us to create an inclusive and empathetic workplace where our employees feel like they belong.

In 2020, we developed our CTC framework to help formalize our approach to I&D across the entire talent lifecycle. We continue to leverage and renew our focus on the CTC model to further strengthen Quest’s culture of trust, collaboration, and belonging at all levels.

Creating community

Our 2021 score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2021 Corporate Equality Index—our fifth consecutive year earning the highest possible score— reflects that Quest fosters a safe and supportive workplace for all employees regardless of identity. Core to our approach of nurturing an inclusive and diverse workplace is our commitment to Everyday Equity, a strategy that embodies our commitment to instill equity practices in everything we do at Quest Diagnostics.

Among our key initiatives in 2021, we introduced company-wide trainings on how to recognize and overcome unconscious bias and develop stronger allyship behaviors across the organization, empowering employees to speak up for others and practice inclusive behaviors.

Our I&D learning journey

Employees responded favorably in 2020 to opportunities to talk about how racism and other biases continue to impact our society, leading to the introduction of a new training series in 2021. Introduced by Executive Director and Human Resources Business Partner Ebony David, the series is meant to deepen awareness of implicit and unconscious bias in our work and interpersonal relationships. The first module was designed to develop a common understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion among all employees, encourage self-reflection, and initiate meaningful conversations about how I&D shows up at Quest.

Module 2 spotlighted how understanding and addressing unconscious bias is crucial for supporting a collaborative work environment, building strong relationships, and breaking down barriers and stigmas. This module included a welcome message from 2 of our Employee Business Network leaders, Koko Adeniran, past co-chair of African-American Business Leaders EBN, and Madhuri Korimilli, co-chair of Pan-Asian Leaders EBN.

The third module in the series aimed to unpack what allyship means at Quest, providing real-life scenarios to empower our employees to feel comfortable speaking up for others and practicing inclusive behaviors. This module also featured a personal welcome message from CEO-elect Jim Davis reflecting on how allyship has impacted his professional and personal life.

We released additional resources for leaders to get conversations started within their teams around these topics and offered these modules in Spanish to reach our Quest colleagues in Puerto Rico and Mexico. These trainings are helping to continue to embed I&D as a critical part of our company culture.

Continuing “The Conversation”

In 2020, we engaged with our leaders on how to address racism, biases, and inequities. Part of our approach included “The Conversation,” a 2-hour virtual training for senior leaders, and “Real Talk” for Human Resources leaders. These trainings help improve understanding of how racism and privilege may appear at work, align leadership actions to support a culture of inclusion, and empower leaders to communicate their authentic view of the importance of I&D at Quest.

In 2021, Quest leaders participated in these critical trainings, including ~300 in “The Conversation” and ~80 in “Real Talk.”

The trainings concluded with a call to action outlining several recommendations to keep Quest leaders accountable for continuing this work, stressing that “accountability is the only way to achieve sustainability.”

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