Over the years of consulting I have learned there is sometimes a fine line between…
- Employee Relations
- Tricia Heibel
What does Caitlyn Jenner have to do with your business?
- Christa Heibel
- 8 June 2015
Society functions optimally when people decide to behave in accordance with an agreed upon set of etiquette, laws, and protocols. These become the guidelines we follow and refer to when making decisions, and also the line we use to gauge where our own behaviors/attitudes sit in comparison. These lines are fluid and continue to evolve and change according to the needs and demands of the people impacted by them. Our society is one of legislative action today and state and federal laws continue to evolve and draw lines around how businesses operate, treat employees, and manage money. Businesses are also subject to the myriad of ever-changing unregulated social lines drawn to direct what is deemed ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ with regards to language, behavior, and attitude. The location and demographic of your workforce will direct you to the lines you need to monitor in order to keep your organization aligned with your labor pool. The responsibility of leadership is to find and keep an eye on all of these lines and make business decisions for your company accordingly. Risk assessment is knowing how far away from a line you may be and understanding what consequences, if any, that may carry for your business.
Over the past decade, society has shown a marked increase in attention, discussion, and legislation around LGBT matters. Both social and mainstream media have carried stories of businesses who have successfully, and not so successfully, adapted to the changes. How is your business staying on top of these items? Have you reviewed and updated written policies, benefit offerings and employment practices to ensure you provide a workplace free from harassment and discrimination? Are you just meeting the minimum required or are you proactive with your policies and practices? How have you addressed LGBT topics in your business
Media events, such as the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner, often times can make their way into the workplace, even if only as water cooler discussion. Have you established a culture of respect and inclusion? Do your employees know what is and is not acceptable concerning language, topic of discussion and image sharing in your workplace? You cannot control what everyone does, but you have the responsibility to draw a line and communicate expectations and consequences for noncompliance.
It is my experience that you will find that these ‘issues’ quickly become a non-issue once addressed through policy and coaching. When you create a culture where everyone is treated the same, you don’t have to spend time worrying about differentiating between our differences. Annual training on discrimination and harassment prevention should be included when establishing a culture of equality and tolerance.
Contact CH Consulting Group or another trusted Human Resources adviser who can review and advise any areas where you could further enforce a workplace culture that embraces and supports diversity within your staff.