The second in a series on D&I’s Role in Supporting Employees Following Violence (Guest Blog by Kari Heistad - Culture Coach International)
The recent spate of violence around the world has left many employers wondering what they should do to support employees, many of whom are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and disengaged at work. We have developed a Diversity & Inclusion Integration: Bringing Social Issues into the Workplace Model which can help you to decide what steps are appropriate for your organization. This model builds off from our D&I Integration model.
When using this model to decide if you are going to being social issues into the workplace, keep in mind the following points:
Understand Your Stage in the D&I Integration Model
When exploring if you should bring social issues into the workplace, it is important to understand what stage you are currently at in the D&I Integration Model. For example: If you are in the Equality and Equal Access stage as you are just getting started with diversity, than bringing social issues into the workplace could cause more harm than good. Without a context to explore social issues, employees may feel that any discussion of social issues is inappropriate within the organizational culture.
Understand Your Context
Diversity and inclusion efforts function within the context of your overall organizational culture. This is an important consideration when planning action steps. Layoffs, organizational deadlines such as a new product launch or a change in senior leadership will have employees on edge and adding something else to this environment might not be well received.
Use Trained Facilitators or Experienced Internal Trainers
Talking about diversity and social issues are deeply personal subjects. Every employee sees these issues from their own unique point of view. It is critical that discussions are led a trained facilitator who can keep discussions respectful.
Senior Leader Engagement
It is important that senior leaders buy-in to the actions that the D&I office plans to use to help employees. Leaders should have talking points so they can articulate the link to organizational goals and they should know how they can be visible in their support.
At a minimum, you should communicate to employees that you understand they may be feeling under duress and that they can get help from their managers or through your employee assistance program. As always, any other action steps should have a clear link to organizational goals and strategies so that employees understand why it is important to their work.
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