Hello LSHRM Community! As the school year winds down and the graduation parties and weddings kick into gear, I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start! I know I am enjoying the longer days, the warm sunlight, and the blooming flowers. Even though we did not have much of a winter this year, every year the change of seasons fills me with appreciation for the new season even more.
During the month of May, I experienced a season of personal growth. I attended the Racial Equity Institute series hosted by the YWCA Lancaster. It was a 3-week class on Tuesday nights, each session was 2 hours in length. I was unsure of what I would learn, yet I was confident I would leave the series more educated than when I started. Wow, I was right about that!
Along with approximately 20 other members of the Lancaster County community, we were guided on a journey of learning in a safe space about topics that can feel uncomfortable, frustrating, anger-inducing, and confusing. We talked about race, physical & mental ability and disability, gender, sex, identity, expression, attraction, and sexual orientation. We discussed concepts such as privilege, power, fragility, intersectionality, equality, racism, discrimination, and oppression.
The team at the YWCA Lancaster led us beautifully! They engaged participants, encouraged dialogue, sought out questions, and reframed perspectives. I would strongly encourage anyone to attend any of the multiple educational programs, meet-up groups, and gatherings the YWCA Lancaster has to offer! The series was well worth the time and commitment.
I share this with you because as you know, June celebrates Juneteenth and Pride month. As I reflect on the class I just completed and the new friends I made, I was contemplating what Juneteenth and Pride month means to me and how HR professionals can recognize both in the workplace.
Here is what I determined, to quote one of our instructors from the YWCA – “Call people into the conversation, instead of calling people out.” He was saying there is room for everyone at the DEI table. When we focus on relationships over shame we will create a more inclusive environment for all. So to begin to help make a shift in mindsets, culture, or behavior in our workplaces our job as HR leaders is to provide the opportunity to others in our organization for education, awareness, and an invitation to a conversation.
We all have multiple identities and our DEI events at work can celebrate our individual and collective, diverse, unique, and different perspectives together in one space. I think in doing so, we can create environments where regardless of the day or month, each and every day people can feel comfortable to be their authentic and complex selves at work.
I hope this summer season brings each of you what you are hoping for and sprinkles in something a little bit better – whatever that may be, however you define it.
Be safe, be happy, be healthy! I look forward to seeing all of you again soon!
Helpful tips: Downloadable PDF
It is not easy to create ideas to engage people at work. Here are some ideas to celebrate or recognize communities with your team members:
- Host a DEI workshop, and invite employees, customers, and/or community members.
- Hire an LGBTQ+, veteran, DEI, immigrant, disabled, formerly incarcerated, etc. speaker.
- Donate or volunteer to or with a charity of an identified group or organization as a company or department to show active support.
- Evaluate your discrimination & diversity policies, handbook & job description language.
- Conduct a lunch and learn on an awareness or socially relevant topic every month or quarter.
- Host a cookout/movie night to watch and discuss a film related to Juneteenth or Pride month.
- Create an online or in-person book club celebrating authors representing marginalized communities.
- Decorate the office, your workspace, or change your Zoom background to celebrate or recognize, create awareness.
- Share social media posts, articles, and recognition. Engage your co-workers with posts & comments.
- Create quizzes for each monthly calendar celebration.