Organizations are Making Progress on Equity in the Workplace, but There’s More Work to Do
Have you ever felt excluded from the conversation at work or that the playing field is so uneven that not everyone has equal access and opportunity to succeed?
You’re not alone. Equity in the workplace was the topic of a constructive conversation for an event hosted by Oswald’s Women’s Leadership Council on May 10. There was a full house at The Aviator for the first in-person event hosted by the council since the pandemic.
In short, the panelists said society has made a lot of strides toward equity, but there are still plenty of gaps to be filled.
The cost of not achieving equity is already being felt.
Women are twice as likely to retire in poverty. Part of the problem is that they make less in the workplace than men and, therefore, draw lower social security in retirement, said Teresa Lindsey, CEO of Channel Products, a global manufacturer of systems and technology for the gas appliance industry.
The conversation began by defining diversity, equity and inclusion, which are popular words in today’s workplace, but many don’t understand their meaning and how they align.
Diversity = representation. Equity = access. Inclusion = empowerment.
Change begins at the top and must be supported. One of the best ways to make change is to listen to your employees to learn their needs, said Jessica Jung, president of Oswald Companies.
Expect to hear the good and the bad.
“If you are not hearing the good and the bad, you’re not doing your job. You have not created a space of honest candor,” said panelist Patrice Blakemore, senior vice president of equity and inclusion at Greater Cleveland Partnership. “Give your employees the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.”
Further, invite all employees to the table, said panelist Kevin Clayton, senior vice president and head of social impact and equity for the Rock Entertainment Group, which includes the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland Charge, Cleveland Monsters, and the Cavs Legion Gaming Club.
“Stand up for your team when they’re not in the room, then create ways for them to be in the room,” he added.
While the thought-provoking conversation could have lasted longer, attendees received the book “Diversity Starts with You” by Marlon Moore, Ph.D. and DEI consultant based in Columbus, Ohio.
In this video, he challenges people to consider what they can do to make a better society for all.
A very special thank you to the sponsors of this event.
Silver: Beazley, Cigna, Lincoln, Sun Life, UnitedHealthcare
Supporting: Anthem, Burns & Wilcox, Hartford, Principal
Learn more and connect with the Women’s Leadership Council here.