Pride Month might be over, but it is always the Month to respects our differences.
For a long time, it was unconsciously known at the office that people are different and that’s okay. So, we never did anything additional to “train” people on the topic. However, last month we’ve decided it is time to have an open conversation on the topic of diversity at the workplace and see if the unconscious practice is a continuous choice for each of us. The amazing people from Glas Foundation helped us set the ground for that talk and guided us through it.
Although, we always had respect for ours and other differences, it was so nice to spend two hours and learn more about each other. It might sound strange or cliche, but in fact, differences bring us closer. Sometimes we think our skin color, birthplace, health or family issues, love preferences and so on, are thinks we should not discuss, especially in the office. However, this is part of our identity and exactly what makes us who we are. And to be quite honest, we spend most of our awake time with our colleagues. So, yes, people working together need to be on the same page when it comes to diversity.
Let’s talk about stereotypes for a second.
We’ve all seen and heard them. And especially, as people in the PR world, we’ve seen and heard a lot of them! But why do people feel the need to put others in boxes and give them labels? Because it is easy! It is so easy to glide on the surface of people’s personalities and make your own assumptions about them that fit the story we create about them in our heads.
But to start at the beginning, what is diversity at the workplace anyway? In the past years people grew to believe that diversity and inclusivity at work means skin color, gender, and sexual orientation. And, yes, those are some very important steps in the diversity journey, however, not the only ones. As a mainly female oriented career, in PR we often face the problem of not having the diverse-enough male point of view in a brainstorming. However, people come in all shapes and forms both physically and mentally. And if you are striking to create something meaningful, you should try and have as many points of view as possible. That’s why it is so important to have diversity not only at the office, but everywhere around us.
During our training we did a role-play game where we had to decide which people should go to a new planet in case of unfortunate event on Earth. Glas’ feedback was we are their first group to take the approach we took to the game but also the first to go so calm and reasonable through the exercise. So, how we did it? We try and spend meaningful time together as a team. We talk about our past and our future and just share with each other. Not because we have to but because we want to. Because we know this is a space where we won’t be judged but supported. And this is probably the most important thing for a successful team. Trusting each other both we work tasks and your own issues.
So, next time you hear a talk about diversity at the workplace, don’t take it as a cliché! Being openminded to the people you work with is a gateway to lots of amazing friendships because often people are not what they seem to be at first sight.