Embrace Each Person’s Story. Be Truly Diverse and Inclusive

by Jun 3, 2022

Based on our episode Embrace Each Person’s Story. Be Truly Diverse and Inclusive” with Amazin LeThi

When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, think of your own journey but also think of the power of storytelling. When you hear someone else’s story for the first time, you will truly know what it’s like to live in that person’s shoes. 

When you embrace a person’s story, you know you can’t only feel compassion, but then you truly understand how to make your workplace or your community diverse and inclusive. Especially if you’re a business leader, you will know what kind of policies you need in place so everyone’s at the table and everyone feels included.

 

Creating space and safety for people to feel comfortable to share their stories

Some people aren’t coming forward when the organization is trying to create a safe space where people can share their stories. It should start with leadership sharing their own, being vulnerable and open. It starts to create a safe and nurturing environment where you feel that it’s safe to share your story as well.

Business leaders now understand, particularly through the pandemic, that we have to look after the mental health of their staff. One of those ways is through their wellbeing, social activities, and sports. We understand that in terms of LGBTQ+, multinational and diverse people feeling comfortable being themselves and bringing their whole self to work, one of those ways is through the power of social activities within the business environment.

 

Allyship and action

Do you know what it feels like to enter a workplace where people have said something to you and no one stood up? It sucks.

We all must be an ally in action. It should become woven into a thread and become part of the fabric of who we are as people. So many people say they’re an ally, but there’s a difference between wearing the pin and then being an advocate and raising your voice and championing a person when they’re not in the room. So much of what happens is when that person isn’t in the room and how you stand up in that moment and call it out. But also make it a learning experience for that other person, and they’re just very small things.

When you’re thinking of these policies in your workplace, think of who is in your workplace that could be at the table to help you shape and mold these policies. Bring the community with you as part of the change and as part of understanding what kind of policies should be in place to affect their community and how you can better support them.

There is lots of information and resources out there, so make sure you start.

 

Well-being and DEI program

They’re meant to be together. When you think of DEI, you think of someone. Then, you think of the need to shape a well-being program to support someone. So they go together. You have to know those communities at the table because well-being may look very differently for many people.

If you’re going to have a well-being program, make them feel that they won’t have to hide part of themselves. When they’re at work, they’re never going to reach that goal of thriving and having well-being. We’ve got to get outside of ourselves and learn about the ways that others have been impacted.

Some tips for leaders:

  • Make sure you’re embracing each person’s story

When you’re thinking of creating policies, embrace each person’s story to create a diverse and inclusive environment.

  • Start looking at the workforce’s well-being and mental health

Put that priority first and think very differently in terms of how your people work.

  • Have flexible working hours 

People should be able to have time off when they need it. A mental health break is very important. Make sure that everyone is at the table.

  • Reverse mentoring 

It is so powerful for executives to receive reverse mentoring in the workplace. It improves new workers’ critical business skills, promotes diversity and empowers new hires to speak up. 

  • Make employees want to stay at your company

If you have employees that are happy and thriving, when they feel like they have worth, value, and they can bring their whole selves to work, it affects your bottom line. It will represent that your company is thriving.

As a business leader, be that person who your employees can easily talk to. Embrace each person’s story. Be truly diverse and inclusive and you will have an amazing workforce.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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