A long-term client recently called me worried that Diversity and Inclusion would be put on the business back burner. “What will happen to support for Diversity and Inclusions now that Trump is president,” he asked.
I replied with three of my own questions, “Are you still committed?
Do you still see the business benefits? Are you going to continue leveraging diversity to develop innovative products and services?”
Supporting and understanding diversity and actively building inclusion is more crucial than ever whether at work, in our communities and in our world.
Here are five moves you can make to support Diversity, build Inclusion and make an impact in your workplace and community.
1- Talk about Diversity and Inclusion and how we all benefit. Yes, it’s the right thing to do on the “people level,” but it’s not enough. Companies spend money, resources and time because it’s in their economic interest. If you want help with articulating the business case, call or email us.Become fluent in Diversity and Inclusion as drivers for innovation, and better workplaces for all. Help others see that Diversity and Inclusion is in their interests and fear, discrimination and exclusion make their lives harder, wastes energy, and imprisons their minds.
2- Pick the person who seems to be least like you at work and find an area of commonality to discuss. A 55 year old African-American client from New York shared how she worked with a 30 year old White man from North Carolina for six months before they had an actual conversation. She said they avoided each other and when they did speak it was tense. ” My parents had grown up during segregation in the South and when I heard his southern accent, it brought up the stories they told me.”He was uncomfortable because she was older, and he had never had a female boss before. One day he saw a martial arts magazine on her desk, and they both discovered that they both had a passion for Tae Kwon Do. This changed their whole work dynamic, and he was one of her best employees.
3- Wear that safety pin. Someone started a movement to get people to wear safety pins to identify themselves to people who may be in danger of harassment because of their ethnicity, religion, race, or sexual orientation. This will also provide an opportunity to talk to people you don’t know who support diversity and inclusion, and educate others.
4- Speak up and out. When you hear people make statements that are against another race, ethnicity, religion, etc. say something and do something. Silence implies consent. Don’t give friends and people you know “a pass.” You can make a difference.
5- Ask questions and share your stories with people who are different than you. Help people be less fearful of the “other.” Seek humanity in others, and don’t be afraid to demonstrate yours.