The “Me Too” Movement highlighting workplace issues impacting the well-being and safety of women has inspired many employers to consider how the experiences of their women-identified employees as well as those whom they serve as customers, clients and community members can be primary indicators of the culture, climate and environment of their workplace, not to mention the capacity to realize broad organizational goals. More specifically, such experiences can call attention to key factors having the potential to adversely impact the progress of business or organization goals.
For business and organizational leaders, human resource professionals, supervisors, and workplace diversity professionals, having an understanding of workplace climate from the perspective of the women-identified employees, customers, clients and communities by whom they are represented and whom they serve, respectively, can help them identify areas of opportunity for creating more safe, supportive and welcoming environments for such individuals. Oftentimes, women-identified employees seek advocacy, advising and support from their supervisors or HR personnel when facing concerning situations in the workplace, which provides employers with an opportunity to address the concerns that have been reported as well as do what is necessary to resolve issues for the benefit of all parties involved. Taking steps to ensure that your workplace environment is one that reflects your organization’s intention to prioritize a respectful professional culture, where all individuals – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, ability, religion, or nationality – can thrive and realize their professional potential will increase your organization’s capacity to appeal to and attract highly talented, diverse individuals and thought leaders, leading to your ability to realize a competitive edge over others in your industry.
However, organizational leadership and professionals responsible for addressing workplace climate and employee-related concerns must also create opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to supporting a diverse workforce, including women, by pursuing information designed to yield valuable insights about the workplace experiences of their employees. In addition, they should provide private, accessible and convenient mechanisms for gathering such data in qualitative and quantitative forms. Furthermore, when considering ways in which to assess workplace climate and environment from diverse employee perspectives, organizational leadership and those responsible for addressing employee-related concerns must solicit feedback from their workforce on an ongoing basis to reflect their desire to make any necessary adjustments in areas of organizational practice impacting diverse employees’ experiences as well as those of customers, clients and the communities they serve. For instance, considering whether or not your organization’s policies, structure, governing and decision-making practices are D&I-informed is an important first step in determining areas for improvement toward the goal of increasing workplace satisfaction rates among women and diverse employees.
The current “Me Too” Movement inspires much reflection on the part of organizational leadership across industries about the status of women-identified employees as well as the most urgent issues impacting their safety and well-being, all while they support organizational goals and represent the interests of their respective employers. As we contemplate their courage, the question for many organizational and business leaders, human resource administrators, supervisors and workplace diversity professionals remains: how can they use this valuable, sometimes awakening information to initiate D&I-informed organizational changes for the benefit of their workforce and ultimately their business, brand and mission?