Many organizations have dedicated diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs or initiatives in place, or it is something that is on the roadmap. For those yet to get started, or for those who want to take their D&I program to the next step, Yammer offers your employees a voice and a channel to express their concerns and ask questions.
Rise to the challenge
This may seem frightening at first, but it’s important to recognize the challenges and anxieties employees face trying to express such concerns in a professional environment. This is your opportunity to help define and shape your culture of employee engagement, and help be an ally to your peers facing challenges in the workplace. And while some of these conversations may be hard to talk about, the benefits of having open and transparent discussions builds trust that outweighs the risks.
Be an 'inclusionist'
Help be an advocate for D&I and demonstrate inclusive behaviors. Find employees who are willing to share and have honest conversations that propel the culture of your organization forward. While some might have reservations about steering the ship into unchartered waters, the reality is that your employees are probably thinking many of these things or discussing them anyway, so dedicating efforts to inclusivity becomes an opportunity for you to be part of the conversation and contribute to change.
Take for example for transgender people, choosing which gendered bathroom to use can be uncomfortable and unsafe. The San Francisco Microsoft Office recently welcomed the creation of a gender neutral bathroom. At this location, the team shared better ways to support and celebrate transgender and non-binary colleagues – and snack on special edition “Potty Party” cupcakes. They hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) and shared experiences with employees so everyone could learn, ask questions, and share their viewpoint.
We’ve heard a number of our customers say they need a virtual space to help with employee causes and move conversations forward. Here’s a few ways to get started:
And one final recommendation. FACE THE MUSIC. Don’t let questions or concerns go unaddressed. Say something. Saying nothing still says something.
While the organization may not be in a place to respond or react at that very moment, acknowledgment can go a long way.
Here’s a few responses we’ve seen customers use when there isn’t a right answer.
What about your organization? What types of groups or conversations about diversity and inclusion have been shared in your Yammer networks? Do you have specific groups for these types of conversations? Is this something that your organization is currently doing or looking to do in the future? Tell us in the comments!
Need more inspiration?
Check out our session at Microsoft Ignite 2019. Real-world ways to promote diversity and inclusion with Yammer and Microsoft Teams
We demonstrate how you can use Yammer and Microsoft Teams to:
• Build and manage open communities of interest
• Create and share inclusive comms campaigns
• Host townhalls around topics and initiatives
• Navigate challenging conversations to create a culture of open sharing
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