The Multicultural Forum was held April 10-11, at the Minneapolis Convention Center with a spring snowstorm adding another dimension to the conference, especially for out-of-state visitors from warmer climes.

The Forum celebrated its 25th anniversary, culminating with a name change to The Forum on Workplace Inclusion.  This new moniker reflects societal changes and a refocusing of the Forum’s agenda. Inclusion leads to engagement, innovation, productivity, and employee retention.  Does your workplace value these variables?  If not, what is the cost of not including, valuing, and listening to “others”?   Considering business’ focus on financial outcomes—follow the money.  Organizations and businesses are recognizing the economic benefit to the bottom line when they value and practice inclusion.

I was able to attend a variety of sessions.  Highlights:

  1. There is really no such thing at “at-will” rationale for firing someone.
  2. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is busy investigating discrimination cases. The major discrimination charges are retaliation, race, and sex, with retaliation being the #1 charge for discrimination.
  3. Blacks and Hispanics have more criminal charges, not always resulting in conviction.  The charges alone may mean that a person will not be hired.
  4. The FBI database is incomplete and/or not updated, which means the information is inaccurate. This database is used for screening applicants and therefore, negatively impacts those seeking employment.
  5. 10,000 Americans are turning 65 each day.  What impact will this have on health care? And employment?
  6. “One dead monkey does not stop the circus.”  If I leave my workplace, I will be replaced.
  7. Questions to ask myself
    1. What is my unconscious bias?
    2. How does my organization do conflict?
    3. A question from one of the sessions allowed participants to interact quickly and comfortably.  (More challenging questions followed.)

What would you rather be?

  • A dripping faucet
  • A lake or pond
  • A river
  • An ocean

I would like to be a lake.  (I’d really rather be at cabin on a lake, watching the seasons change and the starry sky.)

Finally, inclusion involves a state of open mindedness and the alignment of employees’ values and talents with business goals.  Inclusion means changing the company culture.

The 26th annual conference is scheduled for March 18 – 20, 2014, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The theme for next year’s Forum on Workplace Inclusion is: Breaking New Ground.

 

Steve Humerickhouse

In the most recent edition of B. Magazine, the director of the forum, Steve Humerickhouse, reflects on the growth of diversity, the evolution of inclusion, and the hope of breaking new ground for the next 25 years. Read the Q&A