Just mentioning the word “equality” gets people going. Some men roll their eyes and moan, “Here comes another feminist to tell me what I’m doing wrong.” Some women (especially millennial women) insist that inequality doesn’t affect their careers. Some baby boomer women remark that it’s only real if you let it be. This range of opinions presents quite the challenge for business communicators.
Misinformation about equality, vehement denial that inequality exists or frustrated surrender have brought us to this point. We are seeing an unengaged workforce at its peak, while opposing views are angrily shouted from both sides. I argue that our current levels of equality, diversity and inclusion are reasons why employee engagement is declining.
What I find fascinating about the corporate world is that the very thing you are hired for (in my case it was for being “like a fresh breath of air”) is the first thing you are scolded for: “We want your new ideas and we want you to bring yourself fully into the fold, and then we will beat your uniqueness out of you as quickly as we can.”
Corporations, while trying to communicate the importance of innovation, creativity and inclusion, beat independent thinking out of you through regulations and employee handbooks, and by desperately trying to be politically correct, because they need to reduce risk exposure and arrive at a baseline of diversity (which often resembles a flat line).
Why is there such lack of engagement?
Lack of engagement has a lot to do with employees not feeling seen, heard or valued. Too often, an employee’s response to this scenario is to get by with doing the minimum. Because if you can’t see me for who I am in all my colors, why should I invest all of myself only to get shut down?...
This content is available to IABC members only. To continue reading, log in below.