WHAT WE EACH CAN DO (or keep in mind) to FULLY TAP the TALENTS of ALL EMPLOYEES
1. Feeling valued goes a long way!
In studies conducted across industries, successful longer-term employees (with and without disabilities) stated that managers:
- consistently gave feedback on work performance,
- provided encouragement at appropriate times,
- included them in decision-making and
- cared about them as people.
- Do you test your assumptions before acting on them?
- Do you believe there is only one right way of doing things, or that there are a number of valid ways that accomplish the same goal? Do you convey that to staff?
- Do you have honest relationships with each staff member you supervise? Are you comfortable with each of them? Do you know what motivates them, what their goals are, how they like to be recognized?
- Are you able to give constructive criticism to all staff (and thereby, give all employees the opportunity to improve/strengthen their job performance?
When you have open positions…
- Do you insist on a diverse (in terms of race, ethnicity, LGBT and disabilities) screening committee and make additional outreach efforts to ensure that a diverse pool of candidates has applied?
- When you hire a new employee, do you not only explain job responsibilities and expectations clearly, but orient the person to the department culture and unwritten rules?
- Do you take immediate action with people you supervise when they behave in ways that show disrespect for others in the workplace, such as inappropriate jokes and offensive terms?
- Do you ensure that assignments and opportunities for advancement are accessible to everyone?
“Recognize that as human beings, our brains make mistakes without us even knowing it.” Diversity Best Practices’ publication “CDO Insights”
- Biases, blind spots, preferences are part of being human; they don’t mean that we’re “bad people.” In fact, give yourself credit for acknowledging biases. It takes courage!
- Distribute stories and pictures widely that portray stereotyping-busting images – posters, newsletters, annual reports, speaker series, podcasts. Many studies show that the mere positive image of specific groups of people can combat our hidden bias.” Diversity Best Practices’ publication “CDO Insights”
- Offer customized training to employees responsible for screening resumes, conducting interviews, overseeing mentoring programs, supervising staff, developing and conducting performance evaluations as well as initiating promotions and terminations. Hidden biases can sabotage our best intentions to create an inclusive and diverse workplace.
- “One of the great challenges facing organizations is getting all employees, from the CEO to the line worker, to realize and embrace the uniqueness of every individual (with or without a disability).” Traci Graham, HR Generalist, Diversity Committee Chair, Capital Region Human Resource Association
Compiled by Marsha Lazarus, MBA
Career/Workplace Coach and Trainer