Time's Up! Step 3 - How to improve workplace culture to address harassment, discrimination, and exclusion
“A new day is on the horizon” when women will be heard and believed when they speak up… Oprah’s recent Golden Globe acceptance speech spoke passionately to young women across the world and sent a strong message – empowerment is for everyone and change is happening. So what role can each of us play in bringing to life this new day not just for girls or young women, but for all Australians - in one of the most diverse countries in the world?
In my diversity & inclusion workshops I often meet participants, particularly in traditional male workforces, who voice concerns that by creating an inclusive workplace for everyone we are lowering standards. However, best practice and my own experience in workplaces shows the exact opposite.
What we see is:
– Clear evidence that bad policy impacts differently on people. Good policy and practice benefits everyone.
– Participants agree that surviving harassment and bullying as a “test of toughness” is no longer acceptable or what they want for their children or loved ones in 2018 workplaces.
– Despite good intentions, too many Australian workplaces have diversity compliance cultures; which result in people who are different from the “in-crowd” feeling merely tolerated, but not truly accepted, which is not enough to do their best work.
On a positive note, we are seeing an increasing number of employers embark on a workplace culture journey to move beyond tolerating and accepting difference, to valuing, embracing and harnessing employee diversity. To achieve this the evidence is again clear. Everyone needs to get involved in some way and not leave it up to others to improve culture.
In my last two blogs, I shared the first two steps on a workplace culture journey, with some tips on how to identify exclusion, and why and how to get involved to take action to help build an inclusive culture for everyone. Today we move onto the third step – actually improving workplace culture to ensure everyone feels included.
So what can you do to help improve the culture for everyone?
- Encourage, support and act when you see unacceptable behaviour.
- Be courageous and speak up when you see others being talked over or made to feel small. Society is shifting, with bystander action now being encouraged even in our primary schools. Children are being taught to speak up in the school yard to keep other children safer, and workplaces should reflect such changes as well.
- Act with empathy – not sympathy. In his recent interview, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, describes the importance of an inclusive culture for driving innovation, and talks about the need for all of us to lead with empathy and more actively listen to truly understand the needs of others – both customers and teammates.
- Don’t leave it up to others to fix. Get involved personally in your organisation’s diversity & inclusion task groups, events and networks and listen and learn from others ‘lived experiences.’
- Bring your team mates with you, add inclusion to your team meeting agenda, and together identify examples of unconscious bias and exclusion. Through this, you can create new conversations and solutions that will build an inclusive work environment where everyone can thrive and do their best work.
If you would like to discuss the next steps on your workplace inclusion journey, set up a free 1-hour consultation with me. Come with your biggest diversity challenge, and I will give you the recommended next steps to successfully shift your workplace culture to unleash staff potential and drive peak performance. Reserve your spot here today!
Image via shrcc.org