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Buoy’s Active Allyship: You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with

Written by Leslie Ann Lopez, Associate Counsel, Commercial

PublishedSeptember 12, 2021

As part of Buoy’s ongoing commitment to enhancing our diversity, equality, inclusion and accessibility (“DEI&A”) programs and policies, we’ve begun to focus more on understanding our vendors' DEI&A commitments.

Right now, we take a two-part approach. First, vendors are asked to complete a questionnaire about their DEI&A programs and policies. Next, we analyze that information to develop a “scorecard” reflecting the vendor’s level of DEI&A commitment.

The questionnaire

To date, we’ve asked more than half of our vendors to complete the Buoy DEI&A questionnaire. It includes questions like:

  • Does your company have a formal DEI&A policy statement?
  • Does your company have an organizational commitment to DEI&A (such as providing cultural competency training, etc.)?
  • Does your company have any DEI&A hiring practices, including outreach and advertising to minority communities, or participate in other outreach activities, attend conferences or other networking events related to DEI&A?
  • Is your company a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Disadvantaged Business or Small Business Enterprise (DBE/SBE), Edge-Certified and Veteran-Owned Business (VBE)?

The reality is that it may not be possible to receive completed questionnaires from every vendor we work with. Because of this, we’re actively looking for different ways to engage with vendors about their DEI&A policies.

The scorecard

It’s critical that Buoy is in the position to evaluate the DEI&A landscape across its vendors. So once a vendor completes its questionnaire, we assess it using a point system. Each response is assigned a point value, and points are tallied to reach a final score. Some questions include additional weighted responses that take into account other considerations that could contribute to whether a vendor does or doesn’t have certain practices in place. For example, some organizations may not have the resources to dedicate time to a formal DEI&A commitment.

Once points are tallied, the final score is assigned one of three color-coded categories – green, yellow, or red – representing how the vendor’s DEI&A commitments align with Buoy’s overall standards.

  • Green: The vendor meets Buoy’s DEI&A standards.
  • Yellow: While the vendor may not fully meet Buoy’s standards, we can still move forward with them. At the contract renewal period, we’ll re-evaluate to see if the vendor has made any improvements to their DEI&A practices.
  • Red: This vendor does not meet Buoy’s DEI&A standards. In this case, considerations will include:
    • Is Buoy dependent on this particular vendor’s services?
    • Are there other vendors with stronger DEI&A services that can provide similar services?

Of course, this scorecard is not a one-size-fits-all analysis. DEI&A initiatives may be new territory for many companies. Our goal is to be fair – after all, we’re actively seeking to improve our own DEI&A practices.

Looking ahead

Buoy will continue to engage with vendors through our DEI&A questionnaire and will aim to have responses from – and scorecards for – a majority of our vendors. In the spirit of transparency, we also plan to share Buoy’s own scorecard to see how it compares to that of our vendors. We will combine and share vendor responses with you in the next few months to help with your organization’s DEI&A planning and activation of those efforts moving forward. After all - sharing is caring.

We know there’s much we can improve on both internally at Buoy and as an industry, and our hope is that this process helps all of us become more inclusive, aware and actionable altogether.

Leslie Ann Lopez is an Associate Counsel, Commercial for Buoy Health