How many employees within your organization don’t have a voice?
Part 2 of a 7-Part Series
We need to create corporate cultures where everyone can utilize their innate talents and skills and have their voices and ideas heard. Many organization’s brands, culture and future, depend on it.
It’s often said that every idea is a good one, but most great ideas are overlooked in reality. Disregarded or often ignored when it comes from employees considered too low in the hierarchy, too young or too old, from visible minorities, the disabled, the LGBTQ2+ community, and women. How often is an idea overlooked or go unheard unless it comes from the person with the right title? Leaders are too often deaf to ideas from those that don’t look or sound like them. Now’s the time to start listening without bias and to everyone.
When we don’t listen or enable our employees to utilize their skills and talents and give them opportunities to grow, they eventually checkout, disengage and don’t perform at their best. Cultural factors, per LSA Global, account for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, customer retention, leadership effectiveness and employee engagement.
We are long overdue for real cultural change. Far too many companies have seen diversity, equity and inclusion as a marketing opportunity and something that HR will take care of with a token leader or board member. All companies need to take a good look at their corporate culture and address systemic bias, institutional racism, inequality, and corporate injustice.
When COVID-19 shut the economy down in March, many companies shelved or postponed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, while many companies never even considered them to be mission-critical in the first place. Recent events have created new sparks for meaningful change; however, these sparks often die off with time, and the new ‘flavour of the month’ becomes stale again.
Real cultural change has been promised, commitments have been made regarding inclusion, equity, and diversity, but it’s not enough. Society is demanding action and lasting change. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute found, “visible minorities make up more than half of Toronto’s population, but (they) only (makeup) 3.3% of corporate boards and 9.2% of the private sector’s senior management.” The Black Lives Matter movement is important right now because it forces honest, challenging, and long-overdue conversations. Real and lasting culture change only comes about when we commit and stay the course on a company-wide transformational journey. It often starts with hard conversations that identify and acknowledge our hidden bias and ends with an openness to lasting change. Hopefully, next year more of your employees have a voice that is heard, respected and acknowledged.