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Authentic Inclusivity Featured Pattern: P1649 June 2021

Author: David Strachan-Olson (Send us feedback.)

Changes to workplace culture could create environments that enable employees from diverse backgrounds to be their authentic selves.

For decades, companies have had initiatives that aim to increase the diversity of their workforces. In job advertisements, companies claim that workers can be their true authentic selves, but employees often face pushback for doing so and sharing their diverse views. The covid‑19 pandemic and recent social-justice movements are creating space for discussions about establishing diverse workplaces that allow people to be their authentic selves without pushback.

In a 2020 talk for TEDxSeattle (Seattle, Washington)—an independent nonprofit that organizes events under a license from TED Conferences (TED Foundation; New York, New York)—writer Jodi‑Ann Burey spoke about the dissonance between diversity messaging in corporate recruiting and actual employee work relations. Burey juxtaposes human-resources messaging that tells prospective employees that the company values "passionate people who can bring a fresh perspective to challenge our way of thinking" with the lived experiences of people from disadvantaged and minority backgrounds who expressed their authentic perspectives in the workplace and faced pushback from colleagues and bosses. Burey hopes to spark a discussion about how companies can change to actually accept diverse backgrounds in the workplace.

Abstracts in this Pattern:

The pandemic and the rise of remote work are encouraging companies to take stock of their office environments—not only the physical spaces but also the way that employees collaborate and interact. Already, major companies such as (San Francisco, California) have announced permanent work‑from-anywhere policies that allow employees to work remotely or on flexible schedules. As part of this corporate resetting, companies have the opportunity to incorporate authentic inclusivity into their work environments. For example, Far Yeast Brewing Company (Kosuge, Japan) unexpectedly created a more diverse workforce by moving its headquarters from Tokyo to a small rural village. The craft brewer moved to save money on rent and increase coordination between manufacturing and sales but found that it was also able to attract more diverse employees after leaving expensive Tokyo. The rise of remote work and corporate movements away from major metropolitan areas could make hiring individuals with diverse backgrounds easier for companies. Nevertheless, companies need to take an active role in creating environments that allow people to be their authentic selves.