Tough Conversations at Work: Why They Matter

By Nonnie Egbuna

For decades, the workplace was an arena dominated by ideals of professionalism and compartmentalization – be who you are, feel what you feel, and think what you think, as  long as it’s outside of the office. But if the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that there can no longer be such a stark distinction between work and outside life. And there shouldn’t need to be.

We are human beings with complex identities and even more intricate emotional frameworks. To expect us to set aside who we are and ignore the impact of current social events on our wellbeing for forty hours a week is unrealistic.  

Leaders everywhere are experiencing this shift in thought, recognizing that people are people before they are employees. Not only is this shift necessary from a moral perspective, it is also critical to the bottom line. Here are the facts:

  • 61% of employees have negative sentiments about how inclusive their companies are (McKinsey).
  • Out of top 5 skills managers can improve, cultivating a positive and inclusive team culture is #4 (SHRM).
  • Companies that champion diversity have a 25% higher chance of financially outperforming those that don’t (McKinsey).

As Deloitte Human Capital Leader David Brown put it, “Companies’ reputation, relevance, and bottom-lines increasingly hinge on their ability to act as good citizens and influence pressing public issues.” And what better way to begin influencing public issues than talking about them?

Building truly inclusive workplaces requires us to embrace the entire individual, not just the part with skills and experiences relevant to their job title. This means opening the door to potentially difficult conversations around relevant societal issues, and holding space for all voices to be heard. Facilitating meaningful conversations may be tough, but it is crucial to the success of your organization – and it results in happier, more engaged, and more productive employees. 



Want to know how you can bring meaningful discussions to your workplace?

Check back soon for 10 tips to set everyone up for success.



Tags: Diversity, Workplace, Inclusion

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