Creating Safe Spaces in the Workplace to Open Up About Diversity
I am pleased to announce that I recently wrote an article for Co.Exist about the discussion of complex, potentially difficult topics in the workplace. The website, part of the Fast Company family, provides “a daily tour of the latest world-changing ideas and innovations in transportation, energy, education, food, and health.”
As you know, diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamentally important to us. Creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment for our partners and ourselves is a core value that underlies all of the work we do and the decisions we make. Yet, I still struggle with the best way to address potentially controversial topics in a way that ensures that my colleagues know how much I care about them without crossing boundaries.
If you’re like me, your smart phone buzzes throughout the day with news alerts and social media updates on topics such as racial injustice, politics and terrorism. It’s not easy, nor productive, for me to pretend as though I am unaware of the world around me – and it’s even less productive to ask our team to act as though these events aren’t impacting their lives in profound ways. Recently, in preparation for a team discussion about national events, we talked to a number of people we consider wise, asking them for their thoughts and guidance in advance of what turned out to be a really meaningful conversation. Based on their input and our own knowledge, I wanted to present a roadmap that may help others turn potentially divisive topics into opportunities for building respect and understanding within their own organizations’ walls. And while I say it in my article, it’s worth stressing here: This is not about taking sides. It’s about recognizing the realities of the world we all live in – and being prepared and thoughtful in allowing meaningful conversations to take place.
– by Michelle Kedem