No summer slowdown here! No matter what time of year it is, your organization can take steps to move towards a more equitable workplace, driving change that is both lasting and meaningful.
Today, I’m sharing 5 simple tips to help you keep the momentum going this summer and beyond:
1. You Embrace Diversity. Your Organization Needs To Understand WHY.
While your organization may have a mission statement that highlights a commitment to inclusion, employees need to know the ‘why’ and how it affects them.
As a change agent, you know the value of an inclusive organization. Many of your employees may think it’s simply about “including everyone.” In training sessions, it’s vital that all participants can identify and discuss the “Leadership Case” for the EDI work in the organization.
People may deepen their buy-in for one or more reasons, including: recognizing how their lives will improve in a more inclusive work environment that is free of daily microaggressions and bullying; seeing the benefit of recruiting, retaining and promoting top talent from the full breadth of differences available; recognizing how revising policies, practices and services with an Inclusion Lens can improve customer service, financial stability, and the workplace culture and climate.
One way to teach about the Leadership Case is to use examples and scenarios where participants can “see themselves” in the stories and case studies and easily identify the big WHYs about EDI work.
2. Your Organization Knows The WHY. But Is It Really Ready For Change?
A critical exclusionary incident occurs. You handle it. You breathe a sigh of relief.
But are those affected relieved? Have they recovered from the cumulative impact of all their emotions? Probably not.
You can’t accomplish diversity and inclusion piecemeal or by relying on one or a few people to lead change for the entire organization or by hoping the managing of the most recent racist incident will create meaningful, sustainable change. Ask yourself at this critical time: Is my organization committed to the long haul? Ready to incorporate the changes needed to truly create inclusion for all?
Forming an initial solid base to infuse equity and inclusion includes:
- Commitment: Leaders must consistently demonstrate their commitment to leading this long-term culture change process.
- Communication: Leaders must regularly talk about the vision for EDI in the organization and constantly reiterate the Leadership Case for why ALL employees will be held accountable for infusing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything they do.
- Coalition-building: Leaders must pull together and connect all managers and employees who are already working to create greater equity and inclusion to pool resources, create synergy among efforts throughout the organization, and develop deeper internal capacity of these change makers.
- Continuous training and development: Leaders and internal trainers need to design and facilitate meaningful workshops to raise the EDI awareness and skill capacities of all leaders and employees.
3. Emphasize professional development.
On-going professional development is vital to creating – and maintaining – an inclusive organization.
“Ugh. Another Useless Training Seminar. Do I have to attend?”
How many times have you heard employees say that? They drag themselves to training only because they get time away from their desks. They’re present physically, but absent emotionally.
Don’t let their attitudes drag YOU down. Studies show professional development is a win-win situation:
- Employees involved in professional development are 15% more engaged
- A 34% higher retention rate for employees is reported with professional development opportunities
- An overwhelming number of employees – 92% – think having access to professional development is important
Diversity training provides key gains:
- The longer the training, the more powerful the results
- Results will be longer lasting when combined with other diversity-related efforts
- Training focused on awareness AND skill building often is most effective
Design EDI trainings to be engaging, interactive and focused on developing skills participants can readily take back to their specific work environments, including: recognizing and interrupting microaggressions; listening skills to deepen understanding and empathy; tools to navigate difficult conversations; and skills to analyze and revise policies, practices and services with an Inclusion Lens.
You’re in it for the long haul. So keep the momentum going with professional development – it pays great dividends!
4. Transform “Boring” Training Sessions into Engaged, Productive Learning
Need some creative strategies to get everyone motivated and mobilized during your next session? Check out this article. Here are a few pointers:
- Design training activities to inspire strong participant interaction and learning from a diverse group of employees.
- Monitor What diversity issues are brought up? Invite participants to broaden the conversation.
- Acknowledge input and contributions across the range of group memberships.
- Invite verbal participation from a full range of memberships.
- Track unproductive behaviors that undermine authentic dialogue so you can re-establish a productive learning environment.
And remember… Practice what you preach!
5. Overcome workplace conflict
Conflict can interfere with your organization’s ability to focus on its most important initiatives. We all have emotional triggers. I like to say “triggers are in the eye of the beholder.”
Remember, not every frustrating situation is necessarily negative. It’s an opportunity to learn. We can even use triggering situations to deepen our understanding of self and others.
Understanding your hot buttons is vital to your personal and professional development. Take my quiz to learn how to navigate triggering situations.
I think you’ll also find these 3 articles helpful:
- How to Identify Your Hot
- Are Your Buttons Getting Pushed at Work?
- The Warning Signs You’ve Been Triggered
Bonus Tip: Encourage Everyone to Practice Self-Care
Ahhhhh…the dog days of summer are here!
But hey, dogs DO know how to practice self-care, don’t they? They find a sunny patch, roll on their backs, paws in the air, and R-E-L-A-X. Perhaps cats are the leaders of self care, stretching out on a sunny windowsill, waking up only to groom themselves.
We should all take lessons from our pets! Seriously though, it’s key to encourage as many people as we can to make self-care and community care a part of daily life. It’s that essential. Is your organization doing anything to promote self-care?
Self-care sustains us, it keeps us grounded and better able to focus our work. And as activists and change agents, we need to relax and restore ourselves since we’re in it for the long haul.
Leverage the Dog Days of Summer
So when the dog days of summer roll around, we don’t roll over. We’re able to maintain our full-steam-ahead motto. Sure, there may be vacations and absences during the summer that interrupt routine work flow.
Yet, summer is an ideal time to work with employees, perhaps in smaller groups, and explain the need for inclusion and diversity and in making the commitment to creating an equitable environment for all.
Together, we can renew our commitment to our goals of inclusion and encourage each other to practice self-care. And we can maintain our full-steam ahead approach so that even during so-called summer slowdowns, we can make a difference!
“Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.”
— Robin Sharma
You need every resource available to make sure your organization meets – and even exceeds – its diversity initiatives. It’s completely possible – and the resources in my brand new Knowledge Base will give you more training tools and design strategies to make it happen.
All the subjects you need to know about, in one convenient location: Access our Knowledge Base FREE, right here: https://drkathyobear.com/knowledge-base-video-1/