Committing to Change: 6 Principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

on Apr 20, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity leadership Inclusion Equity
It’s back to basics this week! On this blog, we often talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), but what are the key tenets of DEI work? Which guiding principles should organizations follow to make meaningful changes in this arena? As workplaces around the world look to embrace DEI actions, companies and organizations must design their initiatives around certain key principles. It’s not a good idea to approach this work haphazardly. If a company isn’t crystal clear on its guiding principles, how can it move the needle in the right direction? Let’s discuss 6 essential principles related to meaningful (key word!) diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Other principles are certainly important, but focusing on these 6 is a great start.
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No More Performative Allies: 7 Empty Actions to Avoid

on Mar 2, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Business Authenticity allyship
True allyship isn’t always easy. Using one’s privilege to support the rights of a marginalized group can involve “uncomfortable” actions such as acknowledging shortcomings, broadening one’s perspectives, conducting research or continuing education, and working hard (and continuously) to enact meaningful change. It’s far easier (and far too common) for people to play at allyship, especially in the workplace. Company leaders may say or do things that are merely performative or take actions that mean relatively little in the scheme of things. Performative allyship is like a prop kitchen on the set of a sitcom. At first glance, the set looks like a real kitchen, but if you tried to use it, you’d discover the water doesn’t run, the oven won’t bake, and the refrigerator won’t keep your food cold. All of the cupboards are merely shells, without any actual drawers or shelving. In short, the kitchen—like performative allyship—may look good, but it’s fairly useless in terms of functionality. Here are seven empty actions of performative allies—things people do (or say) with the intention of appearing to be allies, but which won’t make a meaningful difference in the lives of marginalized people.
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5 Ways Leaders Can Develop Underrepresented Talent

on Feb 23, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Career leadership Continuous Education underrepresented
Far too often, portions of the workforce are left behind. These underrepresented individuals must carve their own paths, be their own advocates, and go out of their way to build their skillsets and prove they are promotion-worthy. In the meantime, others reap the benefits of receiving personal guidance from mentors, sponsors, or leaders who care about their career futures. It’s hard to overstate the importance of personal guidance in shaping an individual’s career. Those with mentors are promoted five times more often than those without. And, given that over two-thirds of Black professionals and 63 percent of women have no access to career mentors, that means these underrepresented groups are often not landing promotions (this has nothing to do with skill and everything to do with opportunity!). What can you, as a leader, do about it?
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Caring for Employee Mental Health During Winter Months (6 ways)

on Jan 12, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Impact leadership Compassion mental health
The changing seasons can have a distinct effect on our moods, especially when the days are shorter and the weather is colder. For some, the effect is mild—perhaps increased irritation or some lethargy. For others, the effect is more severe—resulting in weight gain, difficulties concentrating, or depression. According to an article published by the Psychiatry journal, 20 percent of the U.S. population is affected by seasonal mood changes, with 6 percent experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and 14 percent experiencing the more mild “winter blues.” That’s a significant portion of the workforce! When that many people are affected by dark winter days, is it any wonder January and February are often the least productive months of the year? People are not feeling their best and, therefore, unable to perform at their peak. On the other hand, research shows, “…happy employees have 31% higher productivity, 37% higher sales, and 3x more creativity than unhappy employees.” It’s clear from a productivity angle that workplaces should pay attention to seasonal depression and take measures to help their employees. But beyond that, it’s simply the right thing to do. As a leader, it’s important to practice empathy (see my recent article about ways to boost empathy) and strive to create a supportive environment that is conducive to both physical and mental wellbeing. Start with these 6 steps:
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Leading with Inclusion: 6 Habits to Adopt This Year

on Jan 5, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership goals Inclusion Teamwork
With workplaces just easing into the new calendar year, what better time to adopt new, productive habits? Your habits not only shape your daily life, they can have a ripple effect on those around you and can fundamentally change who you are. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” Why not make this the year to improve your inclusivity practices and become a more welcoming leader? Inclusive leaders tend to be successful leaders. When individuals feel respected and included in the workplace, their morale and productivity increase. Not only that, inclusivity opens the door to a wider range of perspectives and ideas, creating more robust projects and collaborations. Research shows that when diverse team members collaborate effectively, they engage in better problem-solving. Clearly, inclusive leadership is a win for both the team and the organization, as a whole. Work to improve inclusivity in your workplace this year by practicing these 6 daily habits:
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6 Ways to Show Your Team Gratitude

on Dec 22, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Teamwork gratitude
At the end of the year, it’s natural to reflect on the year and everything you’ve accomplished. If you’re like most leaders I know, I’m guessing you’ve achieved quite a bit in the last 12 months! But you didn’t do it alone. Your team was with you every step of the way, working to achieve company goals (and helping you look good in the process!). The truth is, even the most efficient leaders cannot—and should not—do everything on their own. It takes a team to generate and implement ideas, conduct research, perform day-to-day operations, and support each other along the way. This holiday season, why not show your team a little extra appreciation? Studies show that employees who feel appreciated tend to have higher job satisfaction, stay with the company longer, and are more productive. Not to mention, it feels good to be recognized for your efforts! Here are six ways to show your team gratitude:
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Empathy: A Necessary Soft Skill (5 ways to boost it)

on Nov 24, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Compassion Communication Soft Skills
Many people are quick to dismiss so-called “soft skills.” These skills might include communication, active listening, mediation, negotiation, or (the topic of this blog post) empathy. In truth, there is nothing “soft” about these skills. They are just as vital as company finances or operations. In fact, companies that lack these soft skills are far less likely to succeed than companies that embrace them. Picture a company that lacks empathy (which can be defined as the ability to experience and relate to the thoughts, emotions, or experience of others). In such a company, the leadership team doesn’t see its workers’ humanity—the very real struggles, needs, and emotions people grapple with every day. Instead, it sees numbers and productivity. In such an environment, the company doesn’t see the point of offering paid parental leave, or mental health resources, or affinity groups for underrepresented people. It may do the bare minimum to comply with laws and retain its workforce, but anything beyond that is considered superfluous. Would you want to work in this kind of cold, calculating environment? If not, you’re certainly not alone.
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4 Ways to Improve Retention Through Inclusion Practices

on Nov 17, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity leadership Inclusion retention
Diversity and inclusion are not the same. A company can make a heroic effort to hire people of different races, ethnicities, genders, and abilities…and then completely fail to integrate and include them. In fact, this happens all the time. A company can become so absorbed with demographics, they forget that they’re dealing with people, not numbers. As the CEO of Diversity and Ability, Atif Choudhury, says, “Diversity is about counting people, inclusion is about insisting they count.” It's clear underrepresented employees often do not feel like they count. A recent report found that Black workers were 30 percent more likely to leave their jobs than white colleagues. Another study found that women are three times more likely to quit if they feel excluded at work. These are troubling statistics, but they are certainly not insurmountable. With an intentional plan and the motivation to put that plan into action, company leaders can significantly improve inclusivity practices. Start with these four action steps...
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The Trouble With Unequal Team Development (and what leaders can do)

on Nov 10, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership personal development Equity Teamwork
Imagine you’re training to run a marathon. A personal trainer has determined your exercise schedule, and a dietician has advised you on which foods to eat and which to avoid. You have the best pair of shoes on the market, a sweat-wicking running shirt, and a custom water bottle. After months of following a training and diet regime, you’re set up for success. Now, imagine you don’t have any of those things. Instead, you’ve been dropped off at the starting line wearing your street clothes and casual shoes. You don’t have any training under your belt, and you haven’t even been given a map of the course! What are the chances you’ll actually succeed? This analogy illustrates the distinct advantages and disadvantages certain people experience in the workplace. Some are simply setup for success far better than others, whether they realize it or not. And those advantages are often perpetuated by company leaders (again, whether they realize it or not).
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4 Ways to Effectively Lead a Multi-Generational Team

on Nov 3, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Business Communication Teamwork
In today’s workforce, it’s possible for five different generations to work alongside one another. Baby Boomers (born between approximately 1946 and 1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Millennials (1981-1995) comprise the bulk of the workforce, while the Traditionalists (aka The Silent Generation, 1922-1945) and Generation Z (1996-2015) make up a smaller sliver. With people living and working longer, this blended workforce is new and unique. A multi-generational workforce can be a boon to businesses. When people of different ages effectively collaborate, that can result in more innovations and creativity, stronger brand-building, greater inclusivity, and knowledge sharing. However, multi-generational workplaces can also be a breeding ground for conflict and misunderstandings. A report by AARP reveals that “60 percent of workers report the presence of generational conflict in their workplace.” This conflict might be caused by differences in communication, values, goals, culture, or more. As a leader, how can you minimize conflict and effectively lead a multi-generational team? Try the following four approaches:
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