How Employers Can Be An Ally, Part 1.

 

The month of August is Black Business Month which has us thinking about how employers can serve as allies to employees. While this month of recognition encourages consumers to support black businesses, which we fully endorse, we want to use this month to discuss how people of color can be better supported at their workplace, including professional development.

In this first of our two part series, we’re sharing some broader tactics employers can use to begin developing a supportive company culture in which everyone thrives. And then next week we’ll focus on more detailed initiatives.

As a first step, employers should take a look at the company culture through a wider lens in order to develop an understanding of the overall atmosphere. From there they can investigate the issues influencing the culture and make targeted strategies for dealing with any problems. Here’s how to get started:

 

Initial steps to be an effective ally

 

  1. Conduct a diversity audit. This is an outsourced job, as it’s important to be as objective as possible. This audit should be about the employee experience but with a focus on non-white employees in order to gain a clearer picture of how the culture of the workplace is affecting people of color.
  2. Develop an inclusive hiring plan. The language we use in job descriptions and onboarding procedures should create a comfortable process for all applicants, and it’s surprising how this is often not the case. Here is a chance for your HR department to serve as an ambassador of the company’s ethos, and ensure that fair hiring practices are in place.
  3. Ensure pay equity company-wide. There is no such thing as a positive company culture that doesn’t include equal and fair pay, period.
  4. Develop company statement on racial injustice and equality, and follow-through with it. It’s more than releasing a statement on significant days or events, it’s about incorporating these beliefs in the everyday. Examples of this would be regular donations, volunteerism, and most importantly cultivating inclusion in the company.

 

We’ll see you next week with more examples of how employers can be an ally to their employees but we hope the tactics outlined here have been helpful in developing a game plan for getting started. And if you’re ready to learn more on how an HR team can drive positive change in your company’s culture, give us call. Eos HR makes sure small business teams are successful in maintaining the practices that support an inclusive company culture. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

#hr #weareEOSHR #diversityandinclusion #blackbusinessmonth #employerasally #ally

How to Prevent Disability Discrimination

 

How much consideration have you put into the possibility of disability discrimination within your company culture? Disabled workers are often employed in industries that are customer-forward (such as restaurants), or were entry-level or the least senior among their colleagues. This tells us that disabled workers are less likely to hold management positions and struggle to find jobs to begin with, regardless of their skill-level. Disability discrimination is at play here.

Unfortunately, once the obligatory information goes into the employee handbook, the conversation about disability discrimination often ceases. But it is a very real problem and employers need to be much more proactive in combating it. It takes more effort than what is legally required of them to create both a physically AND mentally safe workspace for their staff.

 

How to combat the stigma

 

Employers need to take a hard look at their hiring practices:

 

  1. Are the policies that are supposed to protect the rights of candidates being followed?
  2. What preconceptions might hiring managers have that may contribute to stigmas regarding disabilities? It’s likely necessary to provide training for all employees, not just management, in order to address and correct any stigmas present in the company. Education is the most powerful tool an employer can use in preventing disability discrimination.
  3. Keep the conversation going. A consistent dialogue about diversity and inclusion with employees is an excellent way to support initiatives. If employees feel welcomed to make accommodation requests and to be vocal about any disabilities they may have, the company culture will be stronger.
  4. Remember that employee may not feel comfortable speaking up, at least initially. Therefore it’s important for an employer to be cognizant that an employee might keep a disability secret for fear of being stigmatized. Employers should make policy decisions that assumes some employees need additional support, even if it’s not obvious at the time. Both employee and employer benefit from a workplace that acknowledges and encourages a diverse workforce.

 

Being able to identify discriminatory practices and mindsets in staff is crucial in not only protecting employee’s legal rights but also in ensuring the workplace is a safe space for everyone. If you’re feeling unsure how to go about recognizing weak points, the experienced HR team at Eos HR can help. We make sure small business teams are successful in maintaining the practices that support a productive company culture. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Creating a safe and inclusive workplace, Part 2.

 

Our two-part series on establishing a dynamic and protected workplace for employees continues with more of the important initiatives employers should take on behalf of their staff’s well-being. If you missed part one, visit the link here, it’s information you don’t want to miss!

 

Employer-led initiatives for an employee-focused culture, continued…

 

  1. Anonymous survey to reveal any hesitations in employee communication, feeling of safety, ability to teamwork. No better way of taking the pulse of your employee’s workplace experience than taking it to the source and requesting their feedback.
  2. Make collaboration a key component to the culture. Workplaces get cliquey, that happens. But when it gets excessive, it hurts teamwork. So make sure employees have frequent opportunities to collaborate (with new people) on projects.
  3. Know your laws: federal, state, local. You know this but failure to comply with the law does occur. Don’t allow for it. For example, have you recently taken a look at hiring practices to safeguard against preferential treatment? CA’s FEHA protects employees from this form of discrimination.
  4. Set the example. A healthy company culture cannot exist without the employer leading the way through their own language and actions, it simply can’t. The first step before all these others is reflecting upon your own practices and making the necessary corrections. Then your employees will know you’re the real deal!

 

We hope you feel ready for building a safe and inclusive company culture! We know the steps in this blog series will lead to positive change and have a lasting impact on the prosperity of your business. Looking for more hands-on assistance for all things inclusivity? Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Creating a safe and inclusive workplace, Part 1.

 

All month long we’ve been sharing the resources employers need in order to create an inclusive and safe work environment for their staff, including the terminology used in the LGBTQIA+ community (using the appropriate language is essential for demonstrating respect), and the California laws that protect against discrimination.

In our latest blog we set the stage on how to ensure a safe workplace by discussing why it’s important to do so. We discussed how it not only makes work a space that employees feel respected and valued, but that it also leads to things like a higher retention rate and improved collaboration. Ready to learn the steps to take for a positive and productive company culture? Here’s the first of our two-part series.

 

Employer-led initiatives for an employee-focused culture

 

Your overall goal as an employer is to foster an environment where the employee feels they can be themselves, for example that they do not feel at threat or unsure about revealing that they are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. If you have employees that feel safe to live authentically at work, then everyone, company and staff alike, benefits.

Here’s some steps to get started:

  1. Make sure nondiscrimination policy includes LGBTQIA+ as protected statuses. Any nondiscrimination/DEI policy needs to be completely inclusive if it is to be effective. You can (and should) have HR regularly review policies to ensure as much.
  2. What kind of language is used in the company? Is it inclusive? This can be a sneaky one, in part because implicit biases (the biases we act upon unconsciously) are so often found in the language we use. Can you create ungendered job descriptions and/or employee manuals? Do you use stereotypes when describing people and/or situations? These things are REALLY important for building a foundation of respect.
  3. Train train train. Managerial trainings are an excellent way to educate supervisors on things like implicit biases, and on how to adequately address issues that arise. They should be done on a regular basis, since to be effective it is best they are incorporated in the culture.
  4. Treat all equally, eg when recognizing achievements. Is there maybe some preferential treatment going on? Do you tend to take some employees more seriously than others (and if so, investigate the reason behind that!) It cannot be stressed enough that all employees should have equal access to resources, be uniformly considered for promotions, recognized for their efforts, and penalized on an equal basis. Really this is the key component for your employees to feel they are valued and respected.

 

Next week we’ll be sharing additional actions for employers to take when building an inclusive, and yes prosperous!, company culture. But are you ready to get started now? Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

Discrimination Protection in California

 

In this and the blogs to come, we’ll be discussing building a company culture that is mindful of the LGBTQIA+ employees and unfortunately a part of that conversation is protecting these employees from discrimination. It would be wonderful if all employees were treated equally but we know that is not the case, and therefore it’s useful to review the anti-discrimination laws that protect all employees, including those who identify within the LGBTQIA+ community.

 

Federal anti-discrimination laws

 

  1. Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, and nationality.
  2. American Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of people with mental and/or physical disabilities. What constitutes as a disability is different in each state and therefore it is important to review.
  3. Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits different rates of pay between gender for the same work.
  4. Age Discrimination Act prohibits age-related discrimination
  5. Genetic Discrimination Act of 2008 prohibits using a person’s genetic history as a qualifier for making hiring and firing decisions

Note, there is no federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation BUT California does offer protections.

 

CA protections for LGBTQIA+ workers

 

  1. Gender, gender identity, and gender expression: employers are prohibited from discriminating employees based on these factors. Remember that gender identity is a person’s internal understanding of their gender alignment, and gender expression is a person’s public presentation of their gender identity.*
  2. Sexual orientation: In the state of CA employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation.

 

Important to note

 

  1. Failure to prevent discrimination: In CA, if an employer becomes aware of discrimination against an employee, they are obligated to not only put a stop to it but also to take measures against it from occurring again.
  2. Harassment: The CA Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from harassing workers for their sexual orientation (as well as race, gender religion, etc) and extends to management staff and colleagues as well.

 

Thoroughly understanding the rights of employees is essential for employers, and whenever we discuss matters of company culture, benefits, etc., these rights should always be top-of-mind. There is no such thing as an inclusive and productive team environment if everyone on that team is not equally protected from harassment and discrimination. Employers first step in addressing discriminatory acts is to stop it, and then implement preventative measures.

If you’re looking to get started on building an inclusive culture within your company, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and inclusive workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

*If you wish to review terminology, please visit our blog that offers useful definitions: Starting the Dialogue for an Inclusive Culture:  Terminology

How employee engagement differs from the employee experience

 

It’s likely you’re very familiar ‘employee engagement’ and we’re willing to bet that when you come across the phrase ‘employee experience’ you think it means the same. But, although related to one another, they actually differ and both are important to understand in order to achieve a healthy workplace environment for your team.

 

Characteristics of the employee experience

 

The employee experience is the culmination of individual events that make up the employee’s day-to-day. It’s the processes and behaviors of the company and its’ culture. For example, the following events would be considered part of the employee’s experience: onboarding, team-building events, company response to employee needs.

However, most importantly it is how the employee feels in response that really matters here. Do they feel a sense of belonging? Are they interested in opportunities for growth? Do they think there is a purpose to their work and the company’s objectives?

 

Characteristics of employee engagement

 

Employee engagement is both the outreach activities coming from the company, and the response to them from the employee. While individual factors such as diversity initiatives and employee development plans are examples, again it is the predominant connection that employees feel to the company that is most important here.

For example, do they feel respected by their employers and trusting of management? Would they consider their work environment to be a positive one? Do they want to collaborate and feel their ideas will be given consideration? Namely, we’re looking at how employees interact with the company.

 

We mentioned earlier that employee experience and employee engagement are related, and hopefully our examples of both demonstrate just that because in order to cultivate a thriving environment for employees, it requires the two. In our next blog we’ll be discussing how HR can play an effective role in experience and engagement, so if you’re feeling a little apprehensive on how to make some adjustments, you’ll want to start by reading that one!

And if you’re ready to dive in right now, Eos HR can help! We make sure small business employers have the resources they need to lead a productive and safe workplace. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.