|EXPERT FORUM ARTICLE
Potential Trump Trauma Inoculation
By Mauricio Velásquez, MBA
President, CEO – The Diversity Training Group
Since the election of President Trump, Diversity Training Group has seen an uptick in all aspects of our work. DTG has never been busier in our 21 year history. Although the media portrayed the last election as a “Culture War” (they were wrong) – it was really a “Values War.” From schools to law enforcement to the courthouse to high tech, to local, state, and federal government, to not-for-profits – we are seeing the Trump effect.
Everything we do is “firing on all cylinders.” Here is what we are seeing. Some employees feel emboldened by recent election results, they feel safer to “come out and share their beliefs” and said beliefs and subsequent actions and behaviors are often contra-diversity, contra-inclusion. I truly believe this is all directly related to current political events and trends.
How are people reacting to election?
- Sexual harassment is up - we landed six new sexual harassment prevention clients in the fourth quarter of 2016
- We landed new executive coaching work – more people need individual attention
- Some employees are emboldened to behave terribly - we are doing more audits, assessments, and investigations right now than ever in our history
- Real ugly “acting out” - DTG had three clients toward the end of 2016 with Hangman’s noose, racist graffiti, and confederate flag activity (been a long time since we saw this, so much of it)
- Hate crimes and “moments of truth” are up in my client world – more subtle micro-inequities (anti-Muslim, racist, gender, national origin comments)
- Ten new diversity and inclusion training and consulting clients – many had not provided any training for a long time (past due, pent up demand, and election is the spark)
- More diversity and inclusion strategy work – a hedge to “what is coming” – putting in place a strategy “before stuff happens” and executing on that plan
- More Supervisory and Management Training – easy to supervise and manage people like yourself, much harder to supervise or manage people that are different
- More requests for “Civility and Respect in Workplace Training.
- Higher level of negativity – a special set of inquiries for and about Toxic Employee – Toxic Workplace training, consulting, and related coaching
How are DTG clients dealing with it and what is next?
Revisit your organization-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Plan and related policies, procedures, and processes. Don’t have a D & I Strategy and Plan? – get one put in place as soon as possible. A major pillar of many strategies we see, that we help our clients design and develop and put in place, is training around Civility and Respect. Take the high ground – insist on civility and respect in the workplace. No one can challenge such a push by any organization.
Revisit your mission and values. Often, respect or civility or trust or teamwork or inclusion are part of any organization’s core values.
Operationalize your mission and core values – behaviorally what does it look like when we honor our core values and stay focused on our mission and what does it look like when we dishonor or undermine our core values (intentionally or not) and are distracted from our mission?
Now, we do come across organizations that don’t have any core values – no code of conduct or rules of engagement. This is really about assessing your organization’s workplace culture. Is your culture inclusive? Do your values support said inclusive workplace culture? If your organization is exclusive – intentionally or unintentionally – what are you doing about it?
An organization with no core values is anarchy. An organization with core values that employees blatantly violate because there are no consequences to violating these values is borderline negligent. Yes, this is a risk management conversation. DTG is helping some of our clients develop their core values.
A workshop on Civility or Respect or “Living Our Values” is all about putting in place a hedge, a risk management check or balance to ensuring all of your employees treat each other with respect, dignity, civility, and professionalism. DTG is working in that sweet spot - the intersection of respect, civility, trust, inclusion, engagement, and higher performance.
In essence, ensure your corporate culture is ready, is resilient, to “stay above the fray” and the backlash of recent political events will not be significant and affect your organization. Hold people accountable to your mission and core values – this is a “back to basics or ‘old school’” approach. If you don’t – bad actors, terrible conduct and behaviors will come back to haunt you and your organization.
What is your organization doing to “batten down the culture disruption hatches?”
Mauricio Velásquez, MBA, is President and CEO of the Diversity Training Group and has worked in the legal space for 25 years
Diversity Training Group
692 Pine Street, Herndon, Virginia 20170