Of course you meant well

DiversityInc is one of the best organizations out there in the area of advising businesses in diversity and inclusion issues.  They also love a good time: for example, their spring conference this week features an on-stage dialogue between Michael Eric Dyson and Ann Coulter.

One of their regular online features is “Things Not to Say” in which they list a few typical insensitive remarks made to people from a wide range of backgrounds.  Some of the remarks on their lists can feel a little over-the-top . . . until you consider that these lists are culled from the real-life experiences of people in the workplace.

Of course, YOU never say any of these things.  So have a look at the explanations of how to debunk these stereotypes . . . so you can help OTHERS.

There’s a lot of work being done in diversity in businesses, and a lot of progress has been made.  Focus has shifted from egregious discrimination to what are called “microinequities,” or the small, day-to-day ways that bias can be expressed consciously ormore oftenunconsciously.  Whom we talk with in the hallways, what topics we raise with whom, what assumptions we voice about others’ interests or capabilities: all of these can be hurtful and limiting on an interpersonal level and disruptive at the level of business productivity.

So: read ’em and weep.  I have voiced versions of some of these and thought about saying others, and you will undoubtedly relate to a number of them as well.  With a disabled family member, I’m strong in the area of disabilities sensitivity; but having grown up in the Midwest, I’m still catching up on awareness of Asian culture and differences.  We all have strengths and weaknesses in this.  The good news is that our reptile brains are malleable and coachable, and that people will give us credit for owning up to our ignorance or lack of experience.

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I didn’t read your e-mail

Got an internal e-mail blast in your upcoming employee communication campaign?  Hold that thought.

The death of e-mail has been hoped for and reported more than it has actually occurred; but if current trends continue, next-gen employees are going to continue to turn in the direction of platforms they find more efficient, more effective and less likely to fill an overflowing e-box.

This brief recent item from the Boston Globe is anecdotal but revealing.  Among the trends?  Declining to put e-mail addresses on business cards.  Andsurprisea plea to use the phone, instead.  Part of this is natural selection for technology: e-mail was far too skinny a horse to load up with all of the uses to which it’s been put.

Here’s the question: As the trend to personalize technology continues, what technology platforms will employees trust and expect to deliver executive communications?  You probably won’t want a 4-minute video of the CEO pushed to your cell phone.  Will you mind if it’s a link from your Twitter feed pulled from your mobile app, instead?

Corporate communicators use internal media and platforms because they are there, controllable and measurable.  But personal messaging from relevant individuals (managers, team members, liaisons in other departments) seems to be rising in favor and credibility, so much so that some of the other channels are being actively ignored or deleted.

Which leaves you where?  How will you test for and determine communications methods that have the highest value for employees?

Image courtesy of Phaitoon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net