Workforce Lessons from the Occupy Wall Street Movement

As the world watches the Occupy Wall Street movement grow, there is much talk about its purpose, direction, and impact.  Observing the movement through my diversity lens, I offer these observations.

  • Organizations should take note that when large segments of the workforce feel disenfranchised or marginalized, employees will act either to form unions, seek employment elsewhere, or begin an insurgency (see my previous post on What is Your Organization Promoting?)  Whatever the choice, it comes at as cost to the organization.
  • Sometimes it is difficult to clearly state the need or concern.  For those who engage in the art of mediation and negotiation, we understand that it takes time for people to flesh out their needs.  While people are willing to state their explicit needs, they often do not articulate their implicit needs.  Offering patience and a willingness to listen will help bring clarity around the issues.  Warning – Do not assume you understand your employee’s needs. 
  • Be cognizant of the filters used to view the world and other people.  Our filters are neither good nor bad, they just are!  We have been programmed our entire lives with information about other people, groups, and cultures and we use this information to make decisions and judgments each day.  Suggestion – just as you have your eyes checked periodically to ensure you have the correct glasses, take the time to check your assumptions and filters.  You might find they are outdated and distorting your view of reality.

Inclusion is required both in society and the workplace to ensure the greater good and collective success.

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