The events of the last year and a half laid bare the systemic inequalities so many of us struggled for years to highlight. We worked to contain a pandemic, continued the fight for racial justice, and responded to increasing hate crimes – all while continuing to work our day jobs. It is clearer than ever that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work is no longer something organizations can opt out of, but rather a business imperative.
The workplace, after all, is where people are most likely to interact across personal differences of all kinds. However, DEI as a value-add necessitates the ability to work and live together despite our differences – it makes necessary a shared sense of ethics. That is why Tanenbaum continues to lead the way in guiding global corporations as they address religion and belief as a critical facet of DEI work.
As employees are increasingly encouraged to bring their “whole selves” to work, it is with the understanding that they will be respected and valued for who they are as individuals and the communities they represent. Yet the workplace is no refuge from the conflict and division of the outside world. It is instead a reflection of the outside world, a microcosm, encompassing all of the associated complexities, challenges, and even taboos. Individuals are often tasked with prioritizing professional performance while managing the all too personal consequences of social tensions, political upheaval, and even international conflict.
But what if the foundation for transforming conflict is already present in the workplace? As with the example above, employees of all faiths and none are already using their personal moral frameworks to inform ethical behaviors in their everyday lives. It is that focus on behavior, regardless of belief or lack thereof, that is key to transforming workplace conflict. Ethics inform the foundation of key tenets, such as respectful communication and the recognition of our shared humanity, that ultimately facilitate productive relationships and create truly inclusive workplaces. If you create an ethical and respectful work environment for people of all faiths and none, employees will act accordingly.
Tanenbaum’s Workplace Team