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Search Wizards recently had the pleasure of welcoming Mr. Torin Ellis to join us in an open conversation on the topic of Diversity, Inclusion, and Beyond. This was a special moment held specifically for our employees; however, the content he presented was so powerful, we wanted to share highlights with our network.

This is an important topic and one that we should all be talking about. Thank you Torin for sharing your voice and time with us.

Diversity, Inclusion, and Beyond:

Honor is something that can not be given!

We have moved beyond too many events in life, passing over injustice in silence. We have fallen short in the workplace and in our communities. This is not a political statement or an attack, this is a fact. This might be uncomfortable to hear or to think about, but it is time to be uncomfortable in our conversations and have them from a place of love and respect for one another. We are all humans, HUMANS! And we can all be INCREDIBLE humans who are not willing to pass over injustice in silence. This is true in both our personal and professional lives.

Today many companies have diversity and inclusion at the forefront of everything that they do. This is a great place to start, but there is still work to be done. Most inclusion programs require people to assimilate into the overall corporate culture. This leaves very little room for people to be who they are at work. People do not start inside their corporate culture; they start in their communities and in their circumstances. They bring THAT to work with them. If we want to do a better job of curating, creating, and deploying diversity and inclusion we must have some relative relationship with empathy and proximity. Inclusion is not about a gender or a race – it is about all of us!

We need a new approach to Inclusion:

Deloitte and Kenji Yoshino conducted a survey using the book Stigma by Erving Goffman as a foundation. In that survey, they found that every single individual “covers” in some way in the workplace. No one is excluded.

You can read the report here.

Covering is when we retreat because we have perceptions that are being bestowed upon us. We all have perceptions about how the other should show up in the workplace. When we cannot live up to those perceptions we retreat. We begin to pull back on our submission of ideas and contributions.

The study examines how individuals cover along four dimensions:

Appearance: avoiding aspects of self-presentation — including grooming, attire, and mannerisms — identified with their group
• Affiliation: avoiding behaviors identified with their group
• Advocacy: avoiding engagement in activities on behalf of their group
• Association: avoiding contact with individuals in their group

The survey shows that covering directly impacts an individual’s sense of self as well as their commitment to the organization. Stories of employees leaving their same-sex spouses at home while attending an event where significant others are invited. An employee who despite the pain, leaves his cane at home so he is not labeled as someone who is disabled.

We need a new approach to inclusion, one that uncovers the talent in our workplace so that people do not feel they have to leave a part of themselves at home.

How can we make an impact?

Torin shared a few tenants that he feels are imperative if we are going to structure strong diversity and inclusion efforts.

1) You must be Empowered
You must feel like your voice is strong enough to share your ideas and push back when necessary. We cannot continue to hide behind the curtain of complacency. Mediocre is not an option.

2) You must have Strategic Exploration
Find out where your client is as an Organization, Department, Business Unit, and the Teams that your candidates will report to. Is that organization in the transformation stage, hyper-growth mode, or mature and steady. The more we know about the phase of the business the better we can go about setting our search process. If we are hiring the wrong people for the phase the organization is in, they will fail, and our D&I efforts are negated. Avoid misfire!

3) Tactical Execution
You must make sure you the competency and capability of supporting the effort when you go out and conduct your search. Be strategic with the relationships you build in the communities you work in.

In addition to the above, Torin challenges us all to read a book, The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein

People are the value:

We are in a movement where organizations are not going to value their business solely on the bottom line. They are going to value themselves by creative contribution, social responsibility, and the PEOPLE inside of the company, that is the value. PEOPLE!

We were blessed to have this conversation as a team and hope that you find something in this post helpful. If you want to hear more from Torin you can find him online through the following channels.

Social: @torinellis | SiriusXM: Career Mix ch. 126 | Podcast: crazyandtheking.com