There is a wave of change coming and it is going to have a big impact on how we manage our businesses. What was a general push towards diversity in 2017, is now heated conversations around safety, respect and accountability, most publicly as part of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. And while the conversation has centred around women, it points to a need for change in the level of basic respect for our colleagues and employees.
These discussions are in the public domain, where momentum can turn allegations into international news, bringing down individuals and companies in the blink of an eye.
The Best Part?
The best thing that’s come from this is the size and power of the community of support that has shown itself. The need to change isn’t coming from one squeaky voice, but from the everywhere at once. There is recognition of systemic problems within workplaces and now there is momentum to make positive changes.
So how do we, as individual companies in the tech community, provide opportunity and a safe and respectful working environments for all? How do we adapt cultures that may foster, allow or ignore ‘bad’ behaviour? How do we protect our businesses from the risks of a ‘PR bomb’ – and more importantly protect our employees and customers.
What Can We Do?
In 2018 we hope this momentum results in safe workplaces that offer opportunities for everyone to do their best work. In order to do this, we have to raise our expectations, communicate these expectations loudly and clearly, and reinforce our values without exception. Simply implementing policies and tougher penalties limits the scope of the solution and alienates rather than educates.
Behaviour change can start with gentle reminders. Maybe last year you could refer to someone as your ‘work wife’ and it was harmless. Now? Not so much. Refer to your team of female employees as ‘your girls’? Try out ‘my team’, and you’ll find that it is a much better fit. Beyond this, as a tech community we need to continue to educate our managers and teammates. The unwritten rules are changing and we can all play a role in establishing a new baseline of respect.