With each breaking news cycle, company leaders scramble to figure out if they should acknowledge what’s happening outside of the office and take a stand or “choose a side.” These days, leaders are faced with a strict order to ditch the traditional “check politics at the door” approach towards social movements.
Times have changed.
The growing tension in our society impacts the workplace, and many workplaces feel the internal pressure growing as they scramble to figure out ways to address it. Research showed “1 in 4 U.S. employees have been negatively affected by political talk at work this election season, with younger workers, in particular, experiencing diminished productivity and more stress.” One more time for the people in the back: One. In. Four. Employees.
Inclusion is an organizational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals with diverse backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed, and treated equally. It is a sense of belonging. The process engages individuals and makes people feel valued as essential to the organization’s success. Evidence shows that when people feel valued, they function at full capacity and feel part of their mission. This culture shift creates higher-performing organizations where motivation and morale soar.
In light of current events, and as things have continued to escalate, many corporations have released statements proclaiming that they “hear and are with the Black Community.” While that is a step, I also want to ask what action will you take?
Recently on CNBC, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier stated that there “is a lot to be done beyond the press release,” and I couldn’t agree more.
Diversity and Inclusion is not just a statement or an initiative; it is and requires action.
Now is the time to remove “culture fit” from our vocabulary. It is at the heart of the D&I problem. Our organizational cultures aren’t flexible and agile enough. We want everyone to be like us, talk like us, act like us, and have the same interests. And it goes against the very thing we want to say — inclusion.
We should be saying to potential talent, “these are the things we value and hope that yours align with ours.” The importance of D&I should be discussed in the interview process — it should be a core value of every company. And everyone should know where you stand and what your intentions are.
Hiring people who are just like us leaves no room for innovation. Having people on our teams that agree with everything we say leaves no room for disruption and transformation.