How Fostering Divserity and Inclusion Creates a Better Work Place for All
This May we recognize Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month and celebrate the culture, traditions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This intentional acknowledgement highlights the contributions and history of the AAPI community. Elina Hamal, a PSI Quality Assurance Analyst from Nepal, shared her experiences in the IT field and how she brings her heritage with her to work.
“Heritage is all about our ethnic roots,” said Elina. “But it also includes cultural teachings and personal experiences. It is about who you are and where you have come from to get to where you are today. For me, my heritage has shaped my values, my personality, my goals, and much more.”
Elina explained that she carries the traditions and values of her heritage with her wherever she goes – from coming to the United States over 10 years ago, to her work today as a PSI consultant.
“As an international student with less knowledge about this country to being where I am today – my heritage has shaped those experiences and made me the person that I am today,” said Elina. “And I don’t mean only in terms of physical travel, but also in my personal journeys.”
Elina came to the United States in 2007 to pursue her dream of higher education. She completed her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 2013, followed by her Master’s degree from the University of Amberton in 2016.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be a Chef,” she explained. “Though my interest in cooking continues today, I realized being Chef was not meant for me. Coincidently during the time phase when I was re-thinking my whole career options, my sister had already established her career in finance as a Test Lead. Whenever I used to visit my sister, I was amazed by her work. I started learning more about Analyst role and different domains on my own. The more I learned, the more my interest grew.”
During Elina’s college education she found herself working in shopping malls which provided her with a basic knowledge of Point of Sales systems. She joined a consulting agency to further her understanding of the field and landed a position as a Quality Assurance Analyst.
“In any field you go to, the first few years are always difficult as you have no contacts,” Elina explained. “Being a consultant helped me with making connection in the field I wanted to build a career in.”
Elina has spent the last seven years as a Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst in the retail industry focused on all phases of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and Software Testing Life Cycle (STLC) catering to the retail point-of-sale/e-commerce/mobile app sector. As a QA Analyst, she creates test strategy documents, scenarios and cases for new functionalities and executes automated and manual testing.
Elina is currently supporting PSI client Victoria Secret & Co.’s Loyalty Program project which includes enhancement to the existing program process flow along with new functionalities such as real-time pre-screening to determine if a customer is pre-approved for a store credit card.
“I am very particular when it comes to eyes for detail and this quality of work has become a huge plus point as a Test Lead,” she commented.
Elina explained that since the day she started working with PSI, she has had quick responses to any issues whether it be human resource or project-related to tackle any obstacles and ensure successful delivery.
“The biggest support I have received from my client is their willingness for us to learn different applications if we are interested,” Elina explained. “For example, I wanted to have more understanding of the Order Management System (OMS) and when I brought it up with leadership, they moved me to a project related to OMS, so I can learn about this area. They give us time and resources we can reach out to and get deeper knowledge of the whole retail system.”
PSI prioritizes the satisfaction and success of our consultant partners, including making sure every step of Elina’s hiring and onboarding process was streamlined.
“Due to PSI’s support, I can give 100% to my work,” she said. “Anytime I have some concerns, the communication line is always open for me to call and openly talk about the issues without having to sugar coat it. PSI is also very flexible with their employees. The primary focus of PSI for their consultant is to be the best version of themselves and they have programs in place for us to get enrolled in different courses and improve our portfolio.”
Elina further explained that when there is diversity at the leadership table, such as PSI, the magnitude of what can be accomplished is enormous.
“Diversity, inclusion and equity are three different but interconnected concepts. It helps to create an environment of respect and fairness and initiates in promoting equal access, opportunity, employment and sense of belonging of underrepresented people in the workplace.”Elina Hamal, PSI Consultant
Elina further explained that Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) means making space for people of different ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations for the betterment of the organization. It welcomes people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, skills and expertise.
“DEIA furthers the company’s goals by asking employees to overcome unconscious biases, or stereotypes formed about other people outside a person’s awareness and broadening the opportunity for original thought,” explained Elina.
Focusing on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access in the workforce creates more welcoming spaces where employees feel safe and encouraged to share their unique perspectives and respect one another’s individual needs. It additionally contributes to a more extensive talent pool, increases overall employee engagement and satisfaction, and results in higher retention and lower turnover.
“As a member of a minority group, my points of view, insights, and experiences might differ from those of many of my colleagues, which helps me to produce nuanced work,” Elina explained. “Coming from a different heritage group helps me narrow the cultural bridge difference in workspace. It also helps me better understand people in a deeper level – like how they are as a person, what motivates them, how they react/behave when things go sideways, which overall improves the quality of work environment with less conflict among team members.”
Learning about our team’s history and heritage furthers PSI’s understanding of who our team members are and what is important to them so we can best serve all who contribute to our organization. It is a priority at PSI to further diversity, equity, inclusion, and access to build a more cohesive team environment for all who rely on our services and who support our team and clients. Learn more about PSI, our commitment to our team and community, and services at www.psi92.com/about/.
If you’re interested in sharing a piece of your heritage, or highlighting a special observance that is important to you and your culture, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.