Maybe you’re wondering what it really takes to begin to move your organization towards a more equitable establishment. There’s more to think and consider that just deciding that the time is right. Here are 3 thoughts to help you start taking some initial steps towards equity in the workplace:
1. The buy-in for equity has to involve leadership. In order for equity practices to be truly embraced in your organization, it has to involve leadership. Leadership sets the tone and is essential to the success of embedding growth and culture change.
2. You must have the Right Messenger – You may not be the right person to make the case for equity, but someone in your establishment is. Be the catalyst that starts the conversation and see who’s as passionate about equity as you are.
3. Timing and consultant ‘fit with agency’ truly matters – There’s never a wrong time to begin your equity journey, but timing is important. Consider where your organization is and the readiness for not only embracing, but incorporating change. Once you’ve decided your organization is ready, find a consultancy that is a good fit and match with your organizational structure.
Here’s an icebreaker to help you get the conversation started:
Knowing the Community: Sharing Activity (Introductory-Level)
(1) Participants will learn the names of each person in the class, group, or community, as well as something about each person’s background.
(2) Participants will have a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity within the group, while realizing that they have things in common with some of the people from whom they might have felt most distant.
Participants should sit in a circle for this exercise if possible. The facilitator should hand out a list of items for each participant to share with the group. Items could include name/nicknames, ethnic background, where they are from and where their parents were born, which generation they represent in the U.S. for their family, and one custom or tradition their family practices. Give participants time to record some of their initial thoughts on these items.
Before you begin the exercise, instruct the participants to identify one or two people in the group who they do not know and to think about what answers they expect from those people. This part is not to be shared among group members, but can help people realize how they formulate ideas about people based on appearance.
Now you are ready to begin. It is important to tell the group that each person will be limited to about two minutes in order for everyone’s voice to be heard. Once everyone has had an opportunity to share their information, ask the group to discuss what they have learned from the exercise.