Posts Tagged "Diversity’

3 Important Questions for International Women’s Day

by Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – A day doesn’t accomplish much. But a movement can. Be inspired this International Women’s Day.

It’s International Women’s Day. That immediately raises three questions.

  1. Why do women get a day and men don’t? (Men do – it’s in November.)
  2. What will a day accomplish? (A single day won’t accomplish much. But the attention that a single day can bring to an important discussion can accomplish quite a lot over time.)
  3. Why is this even important?

That last question takes a bit more time to answer. I think this video answers it best. Out of the mouths of babes, the video shows a Norwegian child social experiment and the gender pay gap. I couldn’t include the video directly here, so take 2 minutes and click through. It’s well worth it.

Video Still

For those who prefer a quick summary, children paired up in boy/girl teams are asked to complete a simple task together. They then receive their reward. As you can see in the bottom right in the image above, the rewards are very unfair and skewed in the boys’ favor.

The children’s reactions are priceless. The girls are shocked when told the reason for the disparity, for the girls receiving far less, is precisely because they are girls. Equally telling, the boys are visibly uncomfortable, confused, and horrified.

When questioned about how they feel about the experiment, two of my favorite comments are:

  • “She was just as good as me, so we should get the same reward.”
  • “It’s just wrong. Girls aren’t worth less than boys.”

When did we lose sight of this basic truth? When did we become inured to the reality (and real, life-changing impacts) of pay inequality? Why do we continue to accept the excuse that, though a woman may have left the job market for a period of time to birth or raise children, upon return to work, it’s OK to pay her less for the same work as a man in the same role?

As the statement at the end of the video clip says:

“Unequal pay is unacceptable in the eyes of children. Why should we accept this as adults? Women working in the financial sector earn on average 20 percent less than men.”

Of course, there are many more aspects to be considered on International Women’s Day including #MeToo, opportunity, safety, and much more. Join us at WorkHuman April 2-5 in Austin, Texas, where we will dive much more deeply into these topics as well as others that make work more human.

“I don’t see color.” (Maybe you should.)

By Lynette Silva

Recognize This! – Inclusion welcomes all that makes another person fully themselves.

mohamed-nohassi-175530I am deeply proud of my company and our leaders for the stand we have taken for greater diversity, inclusion and belonging – both in our own organization and through the WorkHuman movement. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about creating safe workspaces for people to bring their whole human selves to work, in all of their passionate, creative and sometimes messy human glory.

That said, in the interest of being inclusive, I acknowledge tone deafness at times. How often have you heard the phrases “I don’t see race.” or “I don’t see gender.” This misses the point of inclusion and belonging. In saying “I don’t see an essential part of you” – whether that be your gender, your relationship preference, or the color of your skin – we are also choosing to deny a large part of what makes the other person essentially them.

Each of us is, yes, more than the color of our skin, or who we choose to love, or our gender, or our religion, or our ethnic background. Yet all of those elements are what make me unequivocally me.

See me for who I am and all that I am.

That’s what makes social recognition perceived through the WorkHuman lens so powerful – it’s about recognizing the person for what they do and for who they are. It’s acknowledging that you – uniquely, specifically, beautifully you – and your talents, skills and perspectives that arise from all that it means to be fully you – are what enable you to make important contributions and achieve results for organization success. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the whole human. It’s about truly seeing the entire person in all their humanity.

As Verna Myers said beautifully, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” But how do you do that? She’s also explained, embracing inclusion requires “the institution’s ability to fully integrate its understanding of and appreciation for the diverse cultures and backgrounds of its employees.”

True inclusion sees, welcomes and respects everything that makes each of us, well, us. And when I’m seen for who I am, in all my facets, and welcomed anyway, that’s how I know I belong.

What makes you uniquely you? How do you seek to understand others in their fully unique humanity?

(Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash)

Compensation Cafe: Cultural Practices for a More Dynamic Workplace

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe logoRecognize This! – Shifting away from too much hierarchy, organizations need to emphasize more dynamic and more human ways of working.

The pace of changes facing modern businesses is incredible. Many organizations are finding that those changes require an evolution in management philosophy- away from aspects that were successful during the Industrial Era and toward aspects that allow the organization to be more dynamic.

One of those groundswell transformations has played out in the very way that many businesses are organized. As Eric Mosely recent said in an interview with Forbes: “Organizations are changing. The way we work is changing. The top-down hierarchical approach is a dying legacy of the industrial era.”

I was thinking of that quote as I was reading some recent research on the potential pitfalls of clinging to those hierarchies. Summarizing that research in this recent post on Compensation Café, those pitfalls can include: (a) skewed levels of participation between leaders and other team members, (b) a failure to hear from the most knowledgeable or able contributor, and (c) a rush to agreement at the expense of more effective decisions.

How can we avoid those pitfalls, as the role of traditional hierarchy is replaced with more dynamic structures?

I propose three cultural practices, which are excerpted from the full post below:

  1. Leaders as coaches. While it is important for leaders to provide a clear and motivating vision of the direction the company or team should take, it is equally important to provide employees the autonomy to determine the specific path to that goal.

  2. Crowdsourced performance. Teams and organizations are successful when there is a shared understanding of who knows what, and who has which skills and abilities.

  3. Recognition of differences and diversity. Constructive debate often comes from diverse perspectives and the ability to give voice to those perspectives. Greater participation and empowerment, as mentioned above, both help employees feel they have a voice.

Each of these practices are supported through technology solutions that amplify and reinforce relationships between all employees. Solutions like social recognition, for example, acknowledge the unique role that each employee can play in achieving greater performance, sharing knowledge of best practices and experiences, and encouraging greater diversity in how performance in achieved.

How is hierarchy being transformed at your organization?

How Social Recognition Impacts Diversity

by Derek Irvine

Diversity Quote: Healthy SocietyRecognize This! — More diverse workplaces will require all of us to expand our recognition repertoires.

Recently, I was thinking about how employee recognition happens, particularly from the perspective of the one doing the nominating – a supervisor, a peer, or even a direct report. If we think a bit about that process, there are two things that will happen. The nominator first needs to recognize that the person behaved in a way that was fully and truly consistent with the company’s culture, values, and ambitions. The nominator then needs to provide recognition to that person, acknowledging the importance and value of that behavior.

The best practices of providing recognition are pretty well established (covered both on this blog and elsewhere). We know that recognition needs to be timely, social, and linked to key strategic goals and objectives.

The best practices of recognizing behavior are a little trickier, and tend to touch more upon the mental processes of each individual nominator. Employees must have a simultaneous understanding of the familiar behaviors that should be recognized (typically based on the core values), and be open to novel or creative behaviors that demonstrate those core values that should also be recognized. Sometimes it is easier to focus on the former because those behaviors are more of a known quantity – simply put, they are easier to recognize.

Research in cognitive science underscores this point and the difficulty we have in recognizing behaviors that don’t already fit into our known mental universe. Each of us have prototypes in our minds about what core values-aligned behaviors look like, and we are thus more likely to notice behaviors that match those prototypes. New, “out-of-the-box” behaviors, even if they embody those same core values, are much less likely to be recognized if they don’t match our prototypes and expectations.

This is where the power of social recognition comes into play! Rather than rely solely on traditional, top-down recognition, which involves one person’s expectations about what positive behaviors ought to look like, social recognition adds the input of the entire team to combine the unique contributions of everyone’s personal experiences and expectations. With input from anyone, the recognition program is more likely to catch these novel behaviors, and perhaps even catch more of the traditional behaviors.

So why does all of this matter? Organizations are becoming increasingly diverse, in terms of demography, ideas, and personal histories. Business problems are becoming increasingly complex, requiring similarly complex repertoires of behaviors to achieve success. Social recognition allows organizations to leverage the diversity of these individuals, catching in real-time behaviors that may have gone under the radar in the past, but have the potential to drive the company and its culture forward.

Think of your own organization. How are you working to ensure the recognition of the full spectrum of values-based behaviors, both in catching more of the traditional behaviors and taking advantage of the opportunities presented by those more creative, less familiar behaviors?

The next step? The continuous process of incorporating new behaviors into the repertoires of everyone in a positivity-driven learning culture (but that’s another post!).