June was notified about the plan and she was very upset that she was pushed out and had not been consulted. June felt strongly that the company needed to make sure that everyone was represented. So she decided to go to Human Resources (HR) without informing the group. A meeting took place within HR after June consulted with them.
After a period of time, the group got together again to try and resolve the hard feelings that June had toward Michelle. Many people in the group were upset that the issue did not remain within the group, and that it was taken to HR. Some group members felt that this sent a message that the group was unable to address and resolve the issues internally.
After a great deal of time speaking, emailing, and trying to figure out how to resolve the issue, a meeting was held with the group. An HR manager felt that she needed to facilitate the process since the issue was brought to HR’s attention and relates to concerns regarding adequate represensation.
When the meeting started, it was agreed that Michelle and June would discuss the issue from each of their perspectives. As the meeting progressed, it was clear that neither were willing to change their stance. Michelle felt that African American women need to have more visability in organizations, therefore she needed to have the additional time. Further, she felt that she would need a significant amount of time to discuss her perspective and experience as an American American woman in corporate America.
June agreed with Michelle on that point, but was unwilling to give up on sharing her thoughts and experiences. Even though her culture is more represented, there are still a lot of struggles and biases that the corporate world imposes on Asian employees.
Michelle decided that she could not procced with her training and work and said that she was removing herself from the project. She also said that June could conduct the training on her own. Several months later, Michelle left the company to join a firm that she felt would be a better fit for her and would be more open to her critiques regarding the business world and the experiences of African American employees.
The group proceeded and June did the presenation and continued to impact the organization and her colleagues in a positive way.
Sometimes issues such as these do not get completely resolved. However, it’s important for companies to support diversity and inclusion of different cultural backgrounds in the workplace.
Kay Gimmestad, LCSW-C is a business coach and clinician in New York City with 20 years of experience working in the profit and not for profit sectors of Human Resources, Health and Human Services. She has built a reputation for being highly skilled in facilitating behavior change while working with employees, both individually and in groups, on matters relating to performance management, substance abuse, crisis intervention, and stress/wellness.