We are thrilled to participate in the CEO Action Day of Understanding again this year, during which organizations encourage their teams to have discussions to further understand and embrace their differences and work to educate their people to build more inclusive cultures. As your prepare for this year's event, here are a few learnings to keep in mind.
Like the fellow CEO Action signatory companies, our goal at Herrmann as an organization is to include and expand the conversation around diversity and inclusion during our observation of the Day of Understanding. We are hoping to draw attention to the multitude of potential areas of additional focus around inclusivity, examples of which are race, gender, ageism, accessibility, disabilities, parental needs, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental health, geography, education, introversion, extroversion, to name a few. Our goal is to foster conversations on how we can grow in our understanding of all areas of inclusivity as an organization.
How does an organization facilitate an open dialogue about these topics? Here’s our advice about how to promote a healthy conversation, whether you’re hosting a Day of Understanding or not:
1) Set the stage:
It is extremely important to be deliberate and thoughtful about how you set up the environment for these conversations. Utilizing Whole Brain® Thinking, we have organized our team into Thinking Partners who are cognitively diverse and are starting the conversation by having the partners explore their different thinking preferences. Sharing your personal experience with your own thinking diversity is a natural and effective pathway into discussing other aspects of diversity and inclusivity. The thinking diversity conversations help to build a foundation of trust and understanding.
2) Be clear on the intended outcome of the conversations:
The goal of the conversations should be clear to all participants for the Day of Understanding. In our case, our goal is to bring awareness to areas needing additional focus as an organization. We hope to do this by facilitating open dialogues about how we can continue to grow and develop to build a working environment of true inclusion. We have informed our team of all stages of the discussion:
- Thinking diversity discussions
- Question prompts to discuss our potential inclusivity areas of additional focus
- Feedback to the Talent team about potential areas of additional focus
- Breakout sessions on our Day of Understanding to brainstorm ways to help recognize and overcome the barriers to inclusivity
3) Do not close the door on the conversation after the Day of Understanding:
Talking about how diversity and our differences make us all stronger as a whole is at the core of who we are at Herrmann. We encourage all organizations not to make this just a singular annual event, but rather an ongoing focus. We are committed to continuing to discuss and engage with our team around the items that will arise from our Day of Understanding later this month, and will make those a focus of our organizational growth in the future.
Our goal as an organization is to make sure that everyone here at Herrmann feels like they belong and are welcomed and appreciated for exactly who they are. This open and honest dialogue will help us grow not only as an organization, but also in our understanding of one another.
This post is part of a series where our leadership talks about our commitment to participating in the CEO Action Day of Understanding. This post was written by our VP of People & Talent, Kimberly Sullivan.
Interested in more information on Diversity and Inclusion?