How Employers Can Be An Ally, Part 2.

 

In case you missed it, last week we began our two part series on how employers can serve as an ally to their employees. We took a broad approach for making positive changes to the cultural structure of the company, this week we get a little more detailed. Together, these methods can shape a more inclusive workspace, something all employers should be making a priority.

 

Taking action further

 

  1. Focus on company culture, and be proactive in reaching out. Once an employer has a clear idea of how practices are affecting their employees, they need to take the initiative in gathering insight into the mindset of staff. How to do this? Ask for it! The workplace environment should be one where employees feel safe in sharing experiences, and to get there employers need to be receptive and responsive to what they hear.
  2. Have support systems in place. Examples of these would be professional development opportunities (such as ongoing trainings), benefits that include resources for mental health care, and a flexible work environment that is conducive to the many different ways employees work best.
  3. Get involved in the community. Last week we urged employers to stand by their company statements on social and political issues and one way to do so is by giving their time and money to relevant organizations. It’s incredibly significant for employees to see business owners supporting the values they claim to stand behind.
  4. Collect feedback, and address concerns. To build on what we mentioned earlier, once an employer starts to receive feedback, it’s important to address issues in a timely manner. Even if employers don’t have the answer, acknowledgement and intention to follow-through goes a very long way.

 

This series should serve as a basic roadmap for serving as an ally to employees. Employers will undoubtedly find that their workplace is a dynamic place requiring unique solutions to challenges. Eos HR can help with that. If you’re ready to learn more on how an HR team can drive positive change in your company’s culture, give us call. We make sure small business teams are successful in maintaining the practices that support an inclusive company culture. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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.

Disability Hiring Belongs in Your Diversity Initiative

 

We know that profitable businesses are built on a workplace that is diverse, comprised of talented people from a wide array of backgrounds who bring their unique perspectives and experiences to projects, and successfully develop relevant and lasting solutions. These diverse teams should include the disabled. But oftentimes, they do not.

A 2018 report by Accenture found that employers who included disability hiring in their diversity initiatives experienced higher productivity and lower turnover. This makes a survey by the Kessler Foundation from around the same time puzzling. They discovered that only about 28% of companies with diversity hiring goals included disability hires. Why is this segment of the population so strikingly overlooked?

It’s likely due to a number of factors, from employers being unfamiliar with the broad scope of diversity hires, the stigma attached to disabled workers, and simply not knowing the resources to utilize when hiring disabled people.  We’ll visit the stigma issue in a future blog. This week we’re sharing the resources employers should tap into for including disability hiring in their diversity initiatives.

 

How to advance disability inclusion

 

What is disability inclusion? Simply put, it is the active recruitment of disabled workers as part of a company’s diversity initiative (and if you need a refresher on how to develop one of those, visit our previous blog A Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace).

Here are some excellent resources to help employers do just that.

 

  1. This Department of Labor webpage not only shares the organizations employers can partner with for disability hiring but also legal resources such as information within the Disability Act and tax credit materials.
  2. Every region is likely to have a Vocational Rehabilitation Agency that serves as an outreach and support center for disabled workers. Partnering with these agencies is an excellent way to find skilled talent.
  3. Veteran agencies. Much like a Vocational Rehab agency, these organizations support Veterans returning to the workforce and make for excellent partnerships.

 

This list of resources should give you a sense of direction for making improvement to your diversity initiative program. If you’re still feeling unsure on how to start, we can help! Eos HR is a team of HR professionals partnering with small businesses to implement smart solutions to meet challenges, large or small. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

#hr #weareEOSHR #diversityandinclusion #disabilityhiring #diversityinitiative