Month: May 2021

Transforming the Workplace with Transparent Conversations

Everyone wants to know how to get diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) right, but many don’t know where to start. Although it’s tempting for organizations to jump right into action by scheduling a company-wide unconscious bias training, we first need to take a step back to become truly aware of the issues in each unique workplace. That awareness is only possible when open and honest conversations can take place.

Earlier this month, I facilitated a conversation with Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of SHRM, the largest HR professional association in the world. In this interview, hosted by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR), Johnny and I talk about the foundational elements necessary for transparent communication in the workplace. Establishing trust and psychological safety is paramount, but these two elements can only develop when we intentionally build relationships with one another. When it comes to management-employee communication, organizations need to create an environment where people can share their real dreams and goals without fear of reprisal and for Black professionals in the workplace, this can be especially difficult.

In the last twelve months, issues of diversity and inclusion have moved from Main Street to Wall Street and Johnny candidly shared some of his own experiences to encourage anyone who is passionate about DEI to seize this opportunity to get trained and build a career as a DEI expert. In response to company leaders who want to appoint Black and/or female heads of DEI mainly because of their race and/or gender, he said, “It is literally today, one of the most important, strategically important parts of every organization right now.  Everyone is trying to figure out what to do with this IE and D thing.  What I would say to you is if you are that HR professional . . .  whoever you are right now, if you are truly interested in doing this and building a career . . . go get yourself skilled in this. Don’t just go in – you need experts like you Stacey who actually know what they’re talking about – this notion that you are therefore a diversity expert because you are Black or you are a woman or you are both is ridiculous. It’s absurd! And so we have got to educate, encourage people in our community, that if you’re gonna be serious about it, get serious about it.”

Johnny also provided guidance for HR executives looking to make the case for diversity to their corporate leadership. If you had the opportunity to hear him live, you may have found the most effective arguments surprised you. And lastly, we discussed the purpose and efficacy of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and answered a few questions from our viewers about accountability and formal training for DEI specialists.

If you missed the conversation and have questions about unconscious bias education, let me know. And if you would like support as a Black professional in the HR world or want to know how to get started in DEI, reach out to Dr. Carroll Brown, VP Membership at NAAAHR-LA.

Simply Good: Honoring Asian Pacific And Jewish Americans

Did you know there are more than 300,000 Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander U.S. veterans living today? Neither did I!

For the 2021 observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the Federal Asian Pacific Council (FAPAC) chose Advancing Leaders through Public Service as its theme, focusing on Asian Pacific Americans who are impacting their communities through purpose-driven service. This year’s campaign is also shining a spotlight on those communities who have been combating heightened persecution since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jewish Americans are also honored each May with nationwide events and exhibits celebrating their influence on American history and culture. This year’s observance will recognize how diverse communities have stood up for Jewish Americans in the battle against antisemitism, as well as the ways this community is combating discrimination from others in all of its forms.

The articles we’ve selected this month provide an opportunity to learn more about these influential people groups and the struggles they face today. Education leads to awareness, which is key in recognizing and diminishing our own biases against those outside of our circles. Only when we do that can we, as individuals, affect real change in the world around us.

PS – My book, UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias at Work, is now available! Click here to order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Talking Bias with Tayo Rockson

Last week I had an opportunity to chat with writer, speaker, and acclaimed podcaster Tayo Rockson. Tayo is co-founder of UYD Management, a consulting firm that empowers organizations with sustainable diversity and inclusion strategies. He’s the author of Use Your Difference to Make a Difference, and, in 2020, launched the #LetsTalkBias antiracism campaign. In this Facebook Live event, Tayo and I discuss his book, as well as how to get beyond the discomfort that stems from discussions about bias.

The son of a diplomat, Tayo likes to say he has been Black on four continents. That experience allowed him to see how the rules for people to see you differ from place to place. Use Your Difference to Make a Difference was borne out of that unique perspective. Also from his book, Tayo helps us understand the four origins of bias: a story, a fear, an avoidance, and our own security.

Later, we discuss how to get beyond discomfort in conversations about bias (spoiler alert: it’s increasing self-awareness!), as well as the impact each of us has as individuals every day. When it comes to changing things, we all have a responsibility to take the next step, even if we’re unsure of the outcome. As Tayo eloquently puts it, “Just because you’re not sure what to do, doesn’t mean that you get to do nothing.” Each step is a move forward, and only by moving forward in diminishing our own biases are we able to see people for who they truly are.

Don’t miss any part of this discussion with Tayo!

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