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After leading a Q&A panel session with NFL Hall-of-Fame player Emmitt Smith, Kevin Muskat, Partner of Transaction Advisory Services at EY, shares how to score big on Diversity initiatives.
October 12, 2018
By Kevin Muskat, Partner and Southwest Region Black Professional Network Sponsor, EY
On Oct. 11, we celebrated our EY Black Professional Network (BPN), and all I have to say is wow. Thank you so much to this diverse group of 350 people from across EY and the Dallas community who showed up to support this organization. From listening to NFL legend Emmitt Smith, to being able to hear from our extended BPN team members that are truly building a better working world – it was an inspiring and fun night.
Throughout the evening we spoke with our leaders to learn what diversity and inclusiveness (D&I) means to them, why diversity is so vital to business success, and how differences can truly become our biggest strengths (you can check out a few of those videos here, here and here).
However – one question I continue to get through my five years of leadership with this organization is how and why I became the partner sponsor of EY's BPN Network.
And this question likely comes as no surprise, you probably asked it yourself. What role can I, a white man, play in leading an organization focused on connecting our community of black professionals at EY?
But I challenge that this should be a question at all.
In a recent EY survey of more than 1,000 full-time US American workers, we found that nearly half of respondents think white men are currently excluded from diversity programs and initiatives, and over one third (35 percent) think the increased focus on diversity in the workplace has overlooked getting more white men involved in D&I programs.
In order to truly create a diverse and inclusive culture of belonging, everyone has to play an active role in D&I. That means more white men, like myself, need to be held accountable for being actively involved in D&I programs and initiatives.
It should not be a question as to why I am involved, but as to why others aren't involved.
Research has shown a direct correlation between the sponsorship and mentorship of minorities and the number of minorities in leadership positions. At EY, equitable sponsorship is an integral part of our journey towards building a truly inclusive culture. One of our main efforts across the globe is to educate our people on the importance of sponsorship — helping men and women recognize its value and ways to obtain it.
Professional networks, such as our BPN, provide optimal opportunities for us as leaders to connect with and sponsor our people. Today, it is up to us as leaders, colleagues and team members to create an environment where all of our people feel – and are – valued. This is a place where they have a network that shows empathy and is supportive of them both personally and professionally, and makes them feel genuinely connected.
Creating this strong sense of culture not only betters you as a person, but can lead to better collaboration, retention and business performance. Multiple studies have shown that the highest performing teams are made up of diverse and inclusive groups of committed, passionate people brought together by a shared mission and deeply invested in each other's success.
My final point is I am involved in BPN because I want a better working world for my children and those who that will follow me at EY, and I know the only way to impart true change is to get involved and sponsor those who provide the diverse and unique perspectives that will better our firm and myself as an individual.
Being a part of the BPN network has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity and for the acceptance of the group. As I reflect back on my experiences with this organization, it seems to be more of a calling, as the role fits me well and has taught me to be a better, more empathetic leader and person. To others, I would say by not being involved in D&I organizations you are missing out on an opportunity to truly grow as a leader, professional and person.
My call to action: Get out there. Join a program or professional network you might not have previously considered. Reach out and sponsor someone who has potential. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Because when our differences become our strengths, there is no stopping the change we can create.
PwC's Rob Rusch and Nielsen's Elizabeth Hogan share their journeys and give advice on how persons with disabilities can leverage their skillsets in the marketplace.
October 12, 2018
01:36 – Rob Rusch Introduction
02:35 – The Power of Perspective
08:42 – Career Advice
16:27 – Elizabeth Hogan Introduction
22:32 – Nielsen's ADEPT (Abled & Disabled Employee's Partnering Together)
27:00 – Mental Health Awareness
31:52 – Q&A
This educational tool, available for posting on your corporate intranet, includes a timeline, facts & figures and our popular "Things NOT to Say" series, all focused on National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
October 10, 2018
This Meeting in a Box tool is designed for distribution to all employees. You may use portions of it or all of it. Each section is available as a separate PDF; you can forward the entire document or link to it on DiversityInc Best Practices; or you can print it out for employees who do not have Internet access.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It is the ideal time to increase your company's awareness of the untapped talent pool of people with disabilities and educate your company on a variety of disabilities, as well as the best time to learn or re-learn how to successfully bring people with disabilities on board.
It's also an excellent way to refresh your knowledge on the culturally competent way to recruit, retain, engage and promote this increasing demographic.
This Meeting in a Box is designed to make it easy for you to share the entire package or individual components with your employees. Each element is available in a PDF and is available to download for you and your team to print.
• Timeline of legislation and events impacting the progress of people with disabilities and their achievements in the United States
• Facts & Figures demonstrating educational progress and continued employment and income inequities
• Our cultural-competence series "Things NOT to Say" focusing on people with disabilities.
This information should be distributed to your entire workforce and should also be used by people with disabilities and allies employee resource group, both internally and externally, as a year-round educational tool.
[CLICK HERE to download a PDF of the full Meeting in a Box, our diversity-management training and educational tool available only to Benchmarking customers and DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers.]
1. Historic Timeline
We recommend you start your employees' cultural-competence lesson on people with disabilities by using this historic Timeline, which documents individual achievements of people with a variety of disabilities, plus legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which changed their legal opportunities for equality.
Discussion Questions for Employees
What are the variety of disabilities applicable under the ADA? Why has it been so challenging for people with disabilities to attain gainful employment?
Discuss the different experiences of people with different types of disabilities. Explain how hidden disabilities can be even more difficult to address when there are inequities.
Explain how your company changed its opinion, accommodation and treatment of people with disabilities. Can more be done?
What are the barriers to hiring, promoting and retaining people with disabilities?
2. Facts & Figures
After discussing the Timeline, the next step is to review available data and understand how and why hiring people with disabilities impacts our business.
In 2017, DiversityInc required companies to complete the National Organization on Disability's Disability Employment Tracker to be on the DiversityInc Top 50 or any of the specialty lists. The Top Companies for People With Disabilities list was selected based on answers to questions on the DiversityInc Top 50 survey about representation, accommodations, recruitment outreach, on-boarding, talent development and employee resource groups for people with disabilities.
Discussion Questions for Employees
As baby boomers retire, the need for skilled workers in the United States is intensifying. The disabilities population is an untapped resource, yet many companies shy away from this group.
How can your company — and you personally — create more awareness of the value of reaching out to the disability community?
How can you mentor and teach people with disabilities, especially those still in college?
How can companies work with disability non-profits to identify and recruit talent?
How can you educate managers and the workforce about cultural competence?
Do you encourage people with disabilities, especially those with hidden disabilities, to self-identify?
What are the benefits of a corporate culture where people can be free to bring their whole selves to work?
3. Things NOT to Say to People With Disabilities
This “Things NOT to Say" was written by Frank Kineavy, a staff writer at DiversityInc. Frank, who is living with cerebral palsy, shares what to avoid in the workplace when interacting with employees with disabilities.
Discussion Questions for Employees
What other phrases have you heard addressed to people with disabilities that were condescending or offensive?
Discuss how these phrases and stereotypes impact office morale and productivity.
What do you do when you hear an offensive comment in the workplace toward an employee with a disability?
After today's lesson, what would you do if you overheard a colleague make one of these comments?
Continue the discussion with each employee having a plan of action on how to address offensive language.
Executives from TD Bank and Monsanto collaborate to help us understand what unconscious bias is, how and why it exists, and how to address it from both an individual and organizational standpoint. The webinar concludes with almost 20 minutes of Q&A.
Sodexo's Rolddy Leyva, VP, Global Diversity & Inclusion, talks about how his company's Diversity Leadership Council sets strategic priorities & performance expectations for D&I at the U.S. regional level and drives accountability for progress.