The fake narrative of "WOKEISM" in the Workplace
Inclusive policies are good for business
I'm going to tell you a story about Sharon1, a former co-worker of mine.
Sharon is in her late 50's. She lives in a small rural town that butts up against the Mississippi River. A quiet, sleepy town that is stereotypically southern. Sharon attends church every Sunday. She has an "I'm Proud of My US Marine Corps Son" sticker on her motorcycle. After announcing her intention to retire from a medium-sized company she had worked at for 20 years, Sharon bought herself a bright pink Smith & Wesson pistol.
The Republican party is terrified of Sharon.
For the first 51 years of her life, everyone knew Sharon as just "Steven." Everyone saw Steven as a regular, blue-collar white man. Steven was good with a wrench and loved his2 job at a small chemical blending facility. He had "manly" tattoos on his muscular arms and hated dressing up for anything. He was always more comfortable in an oil-stained set of coveralls than in any sort of formal attire.
From a young age, Steven never felt at home in his body. Now, going by “Sharon,” she reluctantly came out as Transgender to a small group of friends and family in the early 2010s. In 2015, she announced to her employer and co-workers that she wanted to be addressed by her new name and gender identity.
At the time, her privately held company of under 1,000 employees had a non-discriminatory policy covering all LGBTQ identities. But there was no healthcare coverage for gender-supportive care under the company's healthcare plan. Once HR contacted him about the company's first openly transgender employee, the CEO quickly and decisively decided that the company would cover all her healthcare until they could renegotiate a new group policy. Management held an all-hands meeting with the more than two dozen employees who worked at Sharon's facility, making it abundantly clear there would be a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry in the workplace.
There were a handful of snickers and the occasional off-hand comment in the breakroom. But, this closely-knit workforce in an insulated and very conservative community got over it quickly. Sharon was still the same person they had known for years. Gregarious, with a quick wit and a maddening disdain for completely filling out inspection checklists. "Why do I have to sign off that I checked for signs of freezing on lines and hoses? We live in a place that's swampier than Satan's asshole!" she told me once.
Everyone referred to Sharon as just "Sharon" from day one. There were slip-ups now and again, of course, but her transformation didn't distract employees. Not the primarily female office staff. Nor the male-dominated operators. Her public transformation didn't create a "walking on eggshells" situation. As a general and universal rule, employees love to gripe. When someone complained about something Sharon did, be it in a meeting with management or joking around on lunch break, it was for the same reasons they did so when everyone knew her as "Steven," not because of her identity.
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Inclusive “Woke” Policies are just good business
In researching this story, I reached out to Emma, a former colleague of mine. She's currently the Director of Human Resources for a decently sized E&P Oil and Gas company with significant investments from Saudi Aramco and Chinese Private capital. "Having pro-LGBTQ policies in the workplace is the easiest and least expensive way to improve employee morale, and it's not even close," she told me. "Recent graduates, even in fields like Petroleum Engineering, respond positively to these policies." She says so-called Rainbow Recruiting doesn't seem to negatively affect application volumes from prospective socially conservative employees either.
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