Workers Compensation Lawyer
In America today I believe it is very important for employers to make a change, they have to be open to new dialog and they have to be willing to talk about difficult subjects with their employees. Diversity is defined by WHO sits at the table and inclusion is which voices get heard. Diversity has become a top priority at the individual, corporate, and national scale. Several reports have shown several trends around implicit bias in the workplace.
Turning a blind eye to individual differences is no longer acceptable if companies truly want to make a change or a profit, for that matter. According to Times magazine, “today’s buyer doesn’t just buy into your product, they also buy the ideals and values of your company.” In the last 3 months I have had several conversations with HR professionals and the going statement but said in different ways is building company values and the future often falls on you—but how can we change a systemic problem? Do you believe this is a systemic problem or a heart problem?
Most business owners find it hard to have challenging productive conversations around such sensitive topics, but short term discomfort is necessary for long term change. Here are three ways to encourage an open dialogue around diversity in your own organization.
We must first start with teaching self-awareness. If you are like me and work in the service industry, you encounter different people on different levels every day. I am always trying to think of ways to better serve others within my specific industry. Cultural competency training is typically given in a quiz type format. When I first started thinking about cultural competency training, the first thing that came to mind was we need to begin by learning about ourselves before we can help others. You have to have a clear understanding of your own biases, triggers, and experiences to really serve each person you encounter throughout your business day.
Second, and one very important factor to truly have an open mind to diversity is to be vulnerable. A culture where leaders are open to learning from their direct reports/ co-workers helps to create comfort within your particular environment. Maybe you learn the most from your employees by having weekly meetings. If so, get all your employees involved in the meetings. By doing this, you are allowing others within the company to learn about their coworkers. It is important to raise awareness about experiences that differ from our own. We are all impacted differently by current events. It is important to build a safe space for employees to open up and express themselves without feeling judged or frowned upon.
Lastly, act as an Ally. While reading the Diversity Report, data reveals a pattern of managers hiring employees in their likeness, commonly referred to as the similar-to-me bias. It is natural to trust people who are like you, as you automatically connect with their experiences, but even if it’s unintentional we have to be conscious and proactive about embracing different voices. We may not always understand the experiences of others but we should act as allies to support them. To act as an ally we have a responsibility to speak up for people who can’t and also know when to just be quiet and listen. Emotional intelligence is critical for success.
Empowering employees to bring their whole selves to work lays the foundation for better discussions around diversity and inclusion. We have the power to bring employees out of their comfort zones and encourage meaningful conversations around the parts of ourselves that we tend to bury during work hours. After all, when an employee is allowed to be themselves there are studies that prove business will grow. America is ever-changing and it is important to keep up with the changes, make the adjustments where they need to be made, and keeping working towards your goals.