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  • How companies can move the needle from Hate to Affinity

    #StopAsianHate has been trending after the recent hate crimes against Asians in the US. Several organizations have pledged their support to the cause. There are several informational sites for your organization to know about #StopAsianHate like and support it. https://www.stopasianhate.info/ https://stopaapihate.org/

    And of course, in 2020 a lot of companies took a stance for  #BlackLIvesMatter. You can find more information about #BLM here https://blacklivesmatter.com/

     

    But this article is not about #StopAsianHate or #BLM - It is about what companies can do every day to change the DNA of the organization as more and more companies are paying attention to social causes - on their own, or due to social-media-fuelled consumer power. 

    Hate is not new and this is not the last of it.

    Let’s look at the definition of 'hate'.


    hate
    /hāt/
    feel intense or passionate dislike for (someone)

    Hate in a lot of the cases comes from fear - fear of someone other than your own. Us vs Them is a good reason for the hate.

    How do you solve the problem? 

    The first step is to remove the mystery of ‘them’. How to create a level playing field between ‘us’ and ‘them’

    How can companies play a part in that? Well, ERG’s can play a big part in that but need management and executive attention to make it happen. 

    Currently ERG’s focus a lot on minority groups. Celebrate special days, recognize differences, talk about creating diversity, inclusion, and equity - whether it is in regards to race, gender, orientation, military, etc. 

    That is a good start and how do we build on that to address hate? Allies are a great start, but we need to do beyond a few allyship - we are talking about everyone understanding and looking at each other as equal. For employees to understand and appreciate the humanity in each other. 


    af·fin·i·ty

    noun

    1. a spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something.
      "he has an affinity for the music of Berlioz"
    2. Similar:
    3. empathy
    4. rapport
    5. sympathy
    6. accord
    7. harmony
    8. like-mindedness

    How to go from HATE to AFFINITY? 

    1. Understand one another
    2. Demystify differences
    3. Normalize affinity

    Here are a few ideas for companies to chip away at the differences and start creating affinity between various groups


    Understand one another 


    Understanding as humans with more similarities than differences is a big part of solving the ‘us’ vs ‘them’. We tend to focus a lot on the differences, but the common humanity that binds us, our values are a powerful way of coming together. 

    Here are a couple of suggestions to help that process in a company.

    • ‘Humans of ABC company’: Have a Humans of the company campaign where people share their backgrounds, experiences and more - highlighting interesting differences as well as similarities. Highlight ‘different’ people that have the same hobbies, interests, etc. Senior leadership leading by example foes along a long way for everyone in the company.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • What I Value’: Inviting stories from employees on what company value is most aligned to them is a good way of understanding the commonalities between people. Have team discussions on these monthly.

    Demystify 'differences'


    Anything you are unfamiliar with is 'different'. It is also easy to make up beliefs about each other which result in misunderstanding.

    • ‘Celebration Days’: Have celebrations be a part of the company culture.  Have monthly celebration days to celebrate various cultures, traditions be a 'standard operating practice' and involve minority and non-minority groups to participate.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • Confidential/Open Ask me why questions: People can ask questions that can be answered by anyone in the organization. The question and answer can be confidential if needed. Involve senior leadership in asking and answering questions. Highlight a great question and answer every month on your Internal Social Media page

    Normalize Affinity


    Pointing out differences can be done one-off but normalizing affinity is a daily job. Use any occasion to bring together various employees around company values and common causes, highlight and celebrate their successes. 

     

    • Affinity events: Have a monthly calendar for the various events happening during that month. Employees could post pictures, share ideas or suggestions. Make these gamified with points and achievements so you have a healthy competition between departments to encourage affinity among the team
    •  Recognition culture: Encourage Peer recognition by giving points for people doing the recognizing as well as being recognized. 

     

    Companies and ERG's can play a huge role in addressing hate from within by bringing awareness and education for their own employees, who in turn have the ability to influence their friends, family, and community. In the era where companies are declaring their support towards anti-hate groups, they have a big part to play in helping their employees be ambassadors of the change themselves.

     

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