As the stepmom to a nonbinary, bisexual stepkid, June holds special importance to me. It is a month out of the year where we can celebrate the beautiful diversity that our LGBTQ+ family, friends, and colleagues bring to our lives.
One hundred and fifty six years after Major General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to announce the ending of slavery, President Biden has written Juneteenth into law as a federal holiday in the U.S. While June 19th, this “Second Independence Day,” gives us reason to formally celebrate African Americans’ rich history and culture, it’s important to note that it wasn’t until 2020, after the death of George Floyd and amidst the Black Lives Matter protests across the country, that Juneteenth — at long last — entered the public consciousness in a more meaningful way. Indeed, as a Canadian executive managing a North American team, Juneteenth entered my consciousness for the first time last year as I worked to help my team absorb and react to the events happening south of the border — and around the world.
As the month of July is upon us, it’s important to remember that the values and sentiments of Juneteenth don’t end in July. The observation and celebration of equity, inclusivity, and diversity in the workplace should be the norm and is something we need to carry on every month of the year.
Even though June is Pride Month, it’s important to carry on the values of Pride through the rest of the year. Although Pride is a great way to celebrate the impact and history of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s important to remember that, as a society, there is still a lot of work to do in order to reach a more equitable and inclusive culture, especially in the workplace.
May 25, 2020, was a day we’ll never forget. I remember the pain and heartache I felt learning witnessing the horrific murder of another Black person at the hands of police. On top of the pain that we were already feeling about the global pandemic and the lockdown, it just felt like too much. And I grieved that all of us were living in a world where something like that could happen, could still happen, after all these years and decades of equal rights talk and activism. Unfortunately, talk and activism weren’t enough to save George Floyd’s life — to give him the breath he called out for, the breath taken away from so many others before him.
For a company to grow and thrive, it needs to have a culture that encourages innovation. That can only happen if employees feel that it is safe for them to take risks at work.
It’s National Autism Awareness Month — or, as many autistic people prefer, Autism Acceptance Month — and the perfect time to talk about neurodiversity in our organizational hiring practices and culture-building efforts. This is especially critical right now, as we’re working to establish post-pandemic norms to accommodate a workforce that has transformed so much over the last year. There’s a call to action to pay more deliberate attention to the roles diversity and inclusion play in not only attracting and retaining talent, but driving employee engagement, productivity, and wellbeing.
Diversity in the workplace is becoming increasingly important not just to the culture but also for employees. It’s a value proposition for employers, too, because diversity introduces new perspectives and experiences to the workplace. What does diversity really mean for businesses, though?
In a global and interconnected economy, companies are hiring employees from all backgrounds and walks of life. This means that as our employee and customer demographics continue to become more and more diverse, we need to be ready to identify with those individuals and, more importantly, celebrate those differences in a respectful manner.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) states that inclusive workplaces have higher quality products and lower turnover rates. Many of today’s employers focus on ensuring diversity, but they forget that inclusion is necessary to create lasting change, not to mention a sense of wellbeing. How can businesses go about creating an inclusive workplace?
Many organizations continue to work in remote and hybrid models as the pandemic winds down, but many employees, when given the option to return to work, would actually prefer to continue working remotely. Our new guide, Taking Care of Remote Employees: The Key To Business Success Beyond the Pandemic, gives you actionable steps to ensure that your employees feel supported no matter where they are working.