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    My Transformational Diversity Lens

    At the end of every school-year here in D.C., I am reminded of the long and hot summer days spent on my grandparent’s farm in North Carolina. My parents would always tell my sister and I that we would love being on the farm and how much fun we would have learning where our food came from, playing with our endless supply of cousins, and learning more about our family history.  My biggest takeaway from those summer days were the conversations with my elderly family members and the stories about how times have changed, and boy have they changed!  We would talk about everything from how the radio was the only transmitter of information and everyone would sit attentively around the big brown box on Friday nights, the advent of indoor plumbing, having ice boxes and electric refrigerators, and how grateful I should be that being welcomed and waited on at any restaurant is available to everyone. This last one was a “WOW” moment for me.

    So where are we in the workplace and do we have on our transformational diversity lens?  Based on thousands of employee interviews, Gallup identified a list of 10 questions that, when asked of employees, indicate how inclusive a company is and how effective it is at managing diversity. The questions that constitute Gallup’s Inclusiveness10, or I10, are:

    1. Do you always trust your company to be fair to all employees?
    2. At work, are all employees always treated with respect?
    3. Does your supervisor keep all employees well informed?
    4. Do you feel free to express your views at work?
    5. Does your company treasure diverse opinions and ideas?
    6. At work, are you encouraged to use your unique talents?
    7. Do you always feel valued in your company?
    8. Is your supervisor open to new ideas and suggestions?
    9. Does your supervisor always make the best use of employees’ skills?
    10. Does your company delight in making the best use of employees’ backgrounds and talents?

    By regularly auditing employees’ answers to these questions, an organization can assess the degree to which employees feel included.[1]

    We all still have some work to do on the diversity and inclusion home front! But where there is optimism, there are possibilities, where there are possibilities, there is always optimism.  Be curious, be open, respect generational differences, and meet people where they are.

    I’m a little older and wiser, I reflect on those conversations of long ago with my elders in North Carolina, and how they have shaped and modeled my thinking, perspective and world outlook.  But I also look out of a different transformational lens – at how much in my lifetime so many things have changed and positively altered the landscape of possibilities.

    We all can learn from each other because diversity and inclusion matters.

    [1] http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/778/leverage-diversity-think-inclusively.aspx

    Iris Drayton-Spann
    Vice President, Human Resources at Goodwill Industries International
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