Three Steps Anyone Can Take to Create an Inclusive Workspace #LWTSummit
We have handheld virtual reality devices, food delivery drones, and self-driving cars that share data and learn from each other’s crashes, but we’re still working towards a solution for intentional inclusion in the workplace.
Last weekend over 2,500 LGBT women and allies swarmed The Castro Theatre in San Francisco to attend the [4th Annual Lesbians Who Tech Summit]. Hot topics ranged from fighting systemic racism to using tech to eliminate fake news. PowerToFly’s own Chief Dream Maverick, Rachel Valdez, moderated a distinguished panel featuring Mikena Wood (Software Engineer at Optimizely), Morgen Bromell (CEO at Thurst), Lisa Mae Brunson (CEO and Founder of Wonder Women Tech), and Samuel Carrington (Service Design Manager, co-Lead of LGBTQIIA Employee Resource Group at Lyft), about what it really takes to practice intentional inclusion at work, even if you aren’t in a managerial role.
What is Institutional Inclusion in the Workplace?
Inclusion is the active and intentional act of establishing and sustaining diversity, equality and comfortable participation for all employees. It’s necessary to identify and remove barriers (such as physical, strategic, cultural, visible/invisible, intentional/unintentional) that discourages involvement and contribution from all employees. Inclusion also requires the practice of defined company values, being open to varying perspectives, a willingness to understand different cultures and experiences and making a concerted effort to be welcoming, helpful and respectful to everyone.
Why is Institutional Inclusion Important?
People can make stereotypical judgments about their peers, leading to discrimination, whether intended or otherwise, that limits the full participation of members of marginalized groups, such as the LGBTQ community, in the workplace. People from underrepresented demographic groups can be mistreated at work, resulting in stress, poor mental and physical health, and limited retention.
The inverse is true as well; numerous studies show that companies who actively seek and implement diversity and inclusion among their ranks perform better, in comparison with their non-inclusive competitors. And their employees are happier and stay longer, too.
Who is Affected by Institutional Inclusion?
Discrimination can result in social environments that are harmful to all people, not just the abused. Therefore, everyone in the workplace benefits from a strong institutional inclusion plan.
Three Steps Anyone Can Take to Create an Inclusive Workspace
Are bathroom breaks creating drama for a transitioning member of your team? Does your team look completely homogenous? Are hallway obstacles making things difficult for a co-worker who’s visually impaired? Take a look around you and speak up
2. Band together.
There’s power in numbers. If your company doesn’t yet see the benefits of implementing a formal Diversity and Inclusion strategy, don’t be afraid to spark change by finding other allies in your peer group. Whether it’s a formal meeting each month in a conference room or a 30 minute weekly chat off the clock, open the lines of communication and share experiences to propel your initiatives.
Seminars, workshops, and Lunch & Learns are all excellent ways to educate your co-workers on D&I concepts. Formal training is great, but remember to make space to share individual experiences and concerns. Silos and cliques work against diversity hiring benefits like team innovation and productivity, so open the lines of communication with dialogue geared toward acceptance and respect.
Everyone should be able to come to work as their authentic selves and feel included, not just tolerated. And everyone should feel empowered to stand up for what’s right.
After working remotely in education technology for 11 years, I decided it was time for a change. It's officially been three months since I quit my full-time job. The time since I quit has been filled with highs and lows: some days seem to affirm my decision, and others I feel myself second guessing the call I made.
How 15 Companies Are Honoring Black History Month to Encourage Open Dialogues, Promote Inclusivity, and Support Employees of Color
This month marks 50 years since Black History Month was first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970, six years before President Gerald Ford officially recognized it in 1976. Since its inception in the United States, Black History Month has helped open up dialogue about the contributions of people of African descent to our communities and country.
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In politics, the vice president is a strategic partner and back-up to the country's leader. In business, the VP role is similar (though comes with no access to Air Force Two). VPs are high-level managers who oversee departments or functional units and work closely with company CEOs and presidents to help set corporate strategy across the business.