As a company grows, its culture can make or break it. That’s why we’re committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). Our program makes our mission both actionable and visible to employees.
Mia Vasser is the Culture Program Manager on our Talent and Culture Team at CallRail, and DE&I is her passion. She initially came to CallRail as an office assistant and has transitioned into spearheading CallRail’s efforts of building culture as we continue to grow.
Let’s talk about your background. How did you get into corporate culture? What inspired you to pursue culture-building as a career path?
I’ve always had a passion for people — I just didn’t know how to translate that into a career path. I love storytelling, especially visual storytelling. I went to school for television and film production, and I did it for twelve years. And it was rewarding, it has been instrumental in how I approach culture, but I was ready for change. Then I found CallRail.
The great thing about CallRail is that it afforded me the opportunity to explore, and to really figure out what my path could look like. I had no idea that managing culture existed. I just knew the components that I really liked and I started researching and putting things together and discovering that this is an actual career path.
Luckily, we have an awesome Talent and Culture team. I’m really grateful to be here.
After you joined the Talent and Culture team, where did you focus your attention?
It’s very important that employees feel valued and appreciated, and it’s a significant part of building the culture here at CallRail. It’s very much a testament to our efforts of our culture being built for the people, by the people. This led to the creation of our Culture Ambassadors Board, before we launched our DE&I program.
We learned important things from our board meetings. Employees wanted more open lines of communication. New hires were feeling isolated. People felt their voices weren’t being heard. These are problems shared by many growing companies, not unique to CallRail. The difference is, we decided to intentionally cultivate our culture. This work continues to this day, but we began by taking small, actionable steps. And those small steps did add up!
We changed the way we onboard new employees, offering them more context and transparency. We enhanced employee benefits and compensation. And we created opportunities for employees to meet and share ideas. Donut lunches, for example.
Donut lunches are 30-minute “coffee breaks” shared by four randomly selected peers. From the beginning, they’ve been really popular. The pandemic hasn’t stopped them — we’re still offering them virtually, once a week. In fact, they may be more popular than ever.
Tell me about how CallRail’s DE&I program came to be, and how it’s evolved.
Here at CallRail, we reflect the community that we live in. Atlanta is very diverse—so it only makes sense to build a culture that resembles that diversity. We’ve also always been an inclusive environment. It’s part of our DNA. We all feel it. But we hadn’t made it formal, in a way employees could see it. It needed to be more intentional.
We began company-wide DE&I training — not just managers or leadership, but everybody — to make sure we’re operating as one organization with many voices. Our sessions are led by skilled coaches and trainers who sometimes lead us into uncomfortable conversations. But it’s all necessary. It’s work we’ll never finish, but hopefully, it will make us a better team, and a stronger one.
We also launched several Employee Resource Groups. Well, I shouldn't say “we launched…” They’re all organic — employee-initiated and employee-led.
For example, an employee approached the Talent and Culture team and asked, “do we have a forum for BIPOC voices?” Because we didn’t, he started our Black and Brown group. Another employee launched Women’s Circle. Then another launched PrideRail. We also have a Manager Resource Group, among others.
Another thing that’s important. None of these groups are exclusive. All employees are welcome to participate in Black and Brown, PrideRail, or any of them. They help us share different views and perspectives. Sometimes, we learn things in these forums that inspire a cultural shift, and that makes CallRail a better place to work.
How does CallRail’s commitment to DE&I contribute to the evolution of the workplace?
The biggest thing is employee retention. Second, it’s had a huge impact on employee happiness. Happier people are healthier people.
We do work hard. We do love and respect each other. But we’re a team, not a family. Our people have lives outside of CallRail. Our DE&I efforts help them know that we value, hear, and understand them. And that hopefully helps them lead healthier and more fulfilled lives.
You know, my parents’ generation was all about just getting done what needed to be done. You work for 50 years and then hopefully you can retire and enjoy life. But now we’re shifting the mindset.
I don't want to wait 50 years to retire and then enjoy life. I want to enjoy what I’m doing right now!
Working remote through the pandemic has been a challenge for many businesses, and CallRail is no exception. Find out how Mia Vasser helped the CallRail team stay close while working remote.