Recognition is probably one of the best strategies you can use to promote diversity and inclusion.
I will explain why and how to leverage recognition to support diversity and inclusion.
Recognition should be a way of life in your organization and not just a programmatic offering. If this is the case where you work, then appreciating people for who they are and recognizing them for what they do will be the great equalizer.
Look at some inherent problems we create for ourselves with recognition that is not diversity minded or inclusive.
Do any of you remember the Sesame Street TV show and the song People in Your Neighborhood? Perhaps I’m dating myself.
The lyrics of the song started with:
“Oh, who are the people in your neighborhood?… and concluded with…The people that you meet each day.”
Bob McGrath, one of the few human actors on the show among the many puppet characters, sang the song with one of the puppets and then they would identify the different people that helped make their Sesame Street neighborhood. Various puppets appeared representing the postman, firefighter, grocery store owner, barber, and doctor, etc.
Many times I am asked how to get senior leaders involved with recognizing and appreciating their employees. Or how to engage them in accessing their online recognition programs to acknowledge or nominate staff.
Sometimes I feel if the leaders don’t “get it” about the importance of recognizing employees, maybe those who manage recognition at the organization should let the natural consequences take their course.
The real recognition leaders in your organization are most often the people that you meet each day in your “neighborhood” at work.