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.
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.
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.
This International Women’s Day falls on the one-year mark of the beginning of one of the most difficult periods we’ve collectively experienced. Last year at this time, we were aware of the new, dangerous strain of coronavirus and feared it was about to hit us close to home. While we were uncertain of exactly how our lives and livelihoods would be impacted — we were even more oblivious to its disproportionate impact on the lives and livelihoods of women. We went on to endure a year of social upheaval and political turmoil that exposed the fissures in the very foundation of justice and equality, and threatened the progress we’ve made toward creating a fair and equal society for every man, woman and child.
The last two weeks have been horrifying, overwhelming, and, sadly, illuminating. The tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many other Black Americans have taken us to a point of no return. It’s not enough to feel outraged by the heartbreaking reminders of racism, both in the graphic videos depicting this indefensible racially motivated violence, as well as in the hate speech against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It’s also not enough to want change.
What does employee wellness mean to you? Is it about improving employee productivity? Is it about providing programs that will appeal to talent? Or is wellness about doing right by the people who make the company successful? Employee wellness can mean all of these things. And when it comes to how you define your wellness program for your employees, some diversity of approach is welcome.
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.