CategoryDiversity

#BlackBlogsMatter – Week 6 – Defining Inclusion, Equality and Equity

Diversity is important. In our workplaces, it leads to better environments and decision-making and profits.

Yes. Companies with consistent commitment to diversity are more profitable and their employees are more satisfied with their work.  Issa fact. Google it.

In our worldplaces, it leads to people who are more compassionate, intelligent and successful.

Yes. People are better when they are consistently exposed to people and environments that are different from their primary culture group. They have a broader world view that leads to being more open and flexible in their approach to communication and problem-solving. Issa fact, too. Google it.

Diversity fails because inclusion, equality and equity are lacking in our efforts. We put all these different people together without regard for their differences and without providing the proper tools for addressing everyone’s shortcomings. And then we act shocked when misunderstandings, disagreements and problems arise. And even more surprised when our diversity takes a dive.

It is important in our efforts to achieve greater diversity in our workplaces, that we not lose sight of inclusion, equality and equity. We have to understand what these things mean in order to know what to do to have successful diversity in our workplace.

  • Inclusion means “to make something or someone part of something; the state of belonging to a larger group or organization.” Inclusion is about belonging … In the context of diversity efforts in our workplaces, inclusion means making sure people who are different from the majority population being actively made to feel like they belong in the group.  More than just hiring different people, it is making sure they feel like a welcomed, appreciated and valued member both despite and because of their difference.
  • Equality means “the state of regarding or affecting all objects in the same way; having a status the same as another belonging to the same group.” Equality is about fairness and sameness. Equality is also about a feeling of belonging and inclusion … In the context of diversity efforts in our workplaces, equality means making sure people who are different from the majority population are given access to the same resources and opportunities. It also means making sure rules and their impact are applied fairly to people who are different from the majority population. More than just promoting people who are different, it is making sure they have the necessary equipment, funding and compensation as their majority counterparts.
  • Equity means “remedial justice to ensure fairness or override a narrow rigid system of rules.” Equity is about justice. Equity is also about achieving fairness and sameness … In the context of diversity efforts in our workplaces, equity means making sure people who are different from the majority population are given additional resources when necessary to ensure they perform at the same level as their majority counterpart. It also means making sure that the rules which have adverse impact when applied to them are adjusted and interpreted to avoid the negative impact when necessary. Equity is the most difficult because, to the majority population, equity feels like favoritism or discrimination against them. However, this is a logical fallacy that is contrary against the definition of the word. Equity is designed to ultimately achieve freedom from bias and favoritism by assigning resources to level the overall playing field. In the context of diversity efforts in our workplaces, equity has been generally vilified to the point where most organizations hide their attempts at equity or have given up on it altogether. We are willing to hire and promote people who are different; we aren’t willing to provide them with additional resources or dismantle policies to ensure their success for fear of being accused of some kind of reverse discrimination.

Diversity ultimately falls apart because we aren’t willing to do the work necessary to fully level the playing field because we fear being judged. So we allow the bias of our systems to continue and demand people who are different continue to work harder with less to try to achieve the same results.

That’s just messed up, y’all.  Completely and totally messed up.

Diversity is defined as “the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization.”  Inclusion is in the very definition of diversity.  Equality is in the very definition of inclusion. Equity is in the very definition of equality. All of these must be present for people to be and succeed as the best version of themselves. Anything less is doing it wrong than all 4 elements is doing it wrong. If any one of these is missing, diversity cannot survive or thrive and we all lose.

4 Important Issues Missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends

Last week, I wrote about the Top 5 HR Trends for 2018. If you haven’t already, please check them out.

However, there are some important issues in our world-place that are impacting our workplace that were missing from that list. And I couldn’t get too much further into the year without speaking on them.

Here’s what’s missing from the Top 2018 HR Trends (once again, in no particular order):

  • Stopping Cultural Insensitivity. We witnessed epic fails by Pepsi and Dove soap and Papa John’s Pizza and several other brands at dog-whistle diversity attempts last year resulting in public embarrassment, online annihilation and loss of sales. In each case, Executives carefully chose imagery and words without regard for negative cultural references and flat-out appropriation. The same thing happens on smaller scale in our organizations in our conversations and communications. These are called micro-aggressions. HR must get educated about this and actively work toward addressing this in our workplaces, especially in our branding and engagement communications. Talk about this in your trainings on harassment and add this topic to your conversations about inclusion. If you want to have diversity in your organization and you want the diverse people to stay and feel respected and valued, being culturally sensitive is a must for your as an employer and in all the services your organization provides.
  • Addressing Gender Pay Inequity. 2017 ended with a bang following the rebirth of the #MeToo movement and 2018 has kicked off with a vengeance with the #TimesUp movement. However, both of these movements are focused on women not facing gender or sexual harassment in the workplace. I am excited by this and support it fully. It doesn’t address the fact that, harassed or not, White women are still only making $0.78 for every $1 paid to a man and Women of Color make even less. There’s just as large a pay gap for Men of Color as well. We cannot lose sight of this fight in our efforts to keep up with all the good anti-harassment work that’s going on. We have to do both. Equal pay for equal work for all. Period. HR must actively look at our compensation structures and pay ranges for similarly situated positions to make sure there are no unwarranted, inexplicable gaps. When we find them, we must do what is necessary to close the gap.
  • Support for Social Activism and Support. Employees and customers these days want to know what organizations and leaders stand for and support — so they can decide if they want to stand beside you. If you aren’t actively supporting anything, your employees and customers are watching and judging harshly. There were many horrific events that happened in our world in 2017 that should make you want to get involved. Many areas are still recovering following hurricanes, fires and terrorist attacks. Find a way to help. Whether you use that for a PR opportunity is up to you — but help with sincerity.
  • Denouncing White Supremacy. I get that we don’t know what we don’t know about people’s beliefs and ideologies. But once a person or organization shows you who they are, believe them. And if they show you that they are a supremacist, stop doing business with them. Be direct and specific when you end the business relationship so they know the reason is because of their supremacist views. Go public if you have to. But don’t keep giving your time and money to people and organizations who don’t value diversity, inclusion, sensitivity and fairness (unless you don’t value it either).

These issues should be trending and front of mind in our organizations and HR departments at such a time as this.

But they’re not.

Because the work associated with these issues is hard, heavy, thankless and uncomfortable. Most organizations aren’t ready for this work. Most HR people aren’t ready for this work.

This is not right … but it’s OK. Most of the world isn’t ready for this work, either.

My advice to HR in the meanwhile? Study. Get ready. Have a plan for when the reckoning comes.

Because it’s coming — and it won’t be much longer.

Your Employees Are In Pain … Acknowledge It and Help Them.

In How to Manage After the Events in Charlottesville, I talked about what organizations need to be prepared to do from a policy enforcement standpoint should something like those events happen involving employees in your workplace.

But what about the hurtful and horrible feelings floating around and lingering?

It is hard to watch the news coverage and images surrounding these events without feeling heavy.  It is hard not to form opinions about the state of our country and our world based on this. It is hard not to think how you can get involved and make a difference. It is hard not to worry for your friends and family and community, wondering if your town  or someone you care about could be next.

It is hard to focus and feel positive. It is hard to turn all that off and work like none of it is happening.

So if it is hard for you, it is hard for the people who work with you too.

Look around you and know that everyone is more than likely feeling some of the same feelings of anger and frustration and helplessness and hopelessness that you are feeling.

What are you doing about it?

Most employers don’t know what to do … so they do nothing.

If you’re wanting to walk the talk on diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity, this approach isn’t going to cut it.

You need to do more. You need to do different. You need to do better.

Don’t know where to start? Consider these:

  • Encourage Self-Care … Remind employees of the benefits of your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). If you don’t have an EAP, reach out to your benefits broker about adding one to your benefits offerings and possibly expanding the existing program if it isn’t very robust.
  • Communicate Candidly … Send acknowledgement of the horrible events and your empathy for the difficulty everyone is experiencing as a result. Send thanks for the continued hard work and diligence during this heavy time. Send reminders about limiting consumption of negative news and images to avoid damage to their psyche and becoming desensitized. Send messages of positivity, unity and hope.
  • Be Silent Together … Schedule a moment of silence for the victims and for our nation and for our world and, most of all, for our peace and sanity.
  • Give Together … Research charitable organizations who are doing positive work to help bring healing, understanding and equality. Encourage your employees to donate to these causes and match the donations.
  • Denounce White Supremacy … Yeah, I know I said this in the last post. I’m saying it again. Take this opportunity to remind everyone in your organization again that diversity and inclusion are celebrated and that the organization will not continue business with anyone who demonstrates they do not share these values. Knowing your workplace is a safe place from supremacy matters to your employees. Don’t let the fear and discomfort stop you from taking the stance if it is in your heart.

We spend half of our waking hours at work. Expecting people to suppress their emotions and thoughts from outside influences during that time is unrealistic. Whether you want it or not, your employees are talking about their feelings with each other. Look for ways to support them in their coping and healing.

Acknowledge their pain. Help them heal.

 

How To Manage After the Events at Charlottesville

This weekend was hurtful and horrible for America.

On Friday,  in Charlottesville, Virginia, White Supremacists marched with torches thru the city to the statue of Thomas Jefferson located on the campus of University of Virginia in protest of decisions to remove several monuments of Civil War Confederate Army “heroes”. They chanted racial slurs as they walked. Their march was approved for Saturday but they decided to start early to send a stronger message.

On Saturday, their real march commenced and was met with counter-protesters who didn’t want these people or their views to bring a negative national spotlight to their town. This culminated in one of the supremacists plowing his car into a crowd, killing one person and wounding at least 20 others.

By Sunday, several of the supremacist participants had been identified thru the photos and videos posted on social media. Their names were posted online and shared thousands of time. Their employers were contacted and many of them lost their jobs.

By Monday,  more counter protests formed and proceeded in cities all across the US calling for the supremacist to be labeled and prosecuted as a domestic terrorist. In several cities, angry counter protesters vandalized and tore down the Civil War Confederate monuments. One of those cities was Durham, NC which is about 15 minutes away from me.

Meanwhile, 15 minutes in the other direction from me, someone arranged all the mannequins in a department store at the mall so their arms were raised in Nazi salute.

Hurtful and horrible. And hard to work with your normal level of focus after that.

While in the breakroom on Monday, I had an employee ask if we would fire someone for doing the things those people (mostly men — but there were women there too) did in Charlottesville over the weekend or what the people did in Durham on Monday.

My answer? “I’m just glad I don’t have to make those kinds of decisions today.”

As the day went on, the question gnawed at me. I wondered what would happen if our organization was faced with this.

Then I realized that IF will soon give way to WHEN as this country continues to become more and more divided along racial lines.

Like it or not, your employees are likely to participate in protests. They are likely to end up on social media while doing it. It is likely someone who disagrees with them will try to identify them and notify you in hopes of getting them fired. It is a possibility they will get arrested. It is a possibility they will be injured. It is a possibility they will be changed by what they witness.

Your organization had better be prepared.

  1. Remind employees on your policy surrounding conduct, harassment/discrimination and social media use … Most organizations have policies on all these things and periodic reminders are normal. Do not be threatening or discouraging toward their rights and choices — but remind them to be ethical and responsible in their choices.
  2. Evaluate your time off policies … Most employers already allow time off for voting. Many allow time off for volunteer work for charitable caused. Some are even allowing time off to participate in political protests. Consider if your organization wants to differentiate this way. Consider if you want to press your employees for more information and documentation surrounding their time off uses.
  3. Create a procedure for handling reports on your employees … When an anonymous, concerned person sends you a photo or video of your employee involved in conduct that is a violation of your policies, know what your process will be for handling it. Know how you’re going to respond to the reports. Know how you’re going to investigate the issue. Know the range of corrective action you’re going to take.
  4. Denounce White Supremacy … Yes, that really is necessary in these times. Your organization and its leadership should publicly denounce White Supremacy and separate yourself immediately from any employee, customer, client or vendor who you know participates in such hateful rhetoric and activities. If your policies on conduct and harassment/discrimination are real and true, this shouldn’t be difficult. But it is and it will be. It is difficult and uncomfortable and scary. Do it anyway.

*It will also be difficult, uncomfortable and scary to not take a similar stance on other kinds of protesters. If your policies on equal employment opportunity are real and true, it shouldn’t be. Fairness and equality do not mandate you to accept both. In fact, there are whole government agencies dedicated to making sure both are not accepted. Don’t feel one bit bad for that and do not back off your stance from the fear. 

Walking the talk on diversity and inclusion is all fun and games until one of your employees has gone viral for carrying a torch shouting racial slurs while making Nazi hand gestures.

When that happens, your organization’s position on diversity and inclusion are going to get very real, very quickly.

Know what you’re going to do when that day comes before that day comes.

Because it is coming. America is regressing. Don’t let your organization be dragged back with it.

© 2018 The Buzz on HR

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑