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Why some companies say “diversity and belonging” instead of “diversity and inclusion”



Woodward is a 153-year-old aerospace company that required its male employees to wear bow ties in the 1990s.

So Paul Benson, the company’s director of human resources, knew that creating a company-wide program for diversity, equality, and inclusion would require dramatic changes. “Look at our organization chart online and we are a snow-white leadership team of old men,” he said. But the employees strove for a more inclusive culture.

“People want to feel like they belong,” Benson said. “They want to come to work and don’t feel like they need to check themselves at the door.”

Last summer, Mr. Benson began looking for a diversity consultant who would be up to the task. He hoped to find a familiar former leader “who saw the light.”

Instead, a Google search led him to a black comedian and former media personality named Karit Foster. She is the executive director Reverse Solutionsa consulting company that rethinks traditional diversity programs.

Ms Foster said companies must fight racism, sexism, homophobia and anti-Semitism in the workplace. But she believes that an overemphasis on group identities and a tendency to relegate people to “victim or villain” can rob and alienate everyone, including employees of color. She says her approach allows everyone to “make mistakes, sometimes say the wrong thing and be able to fix it.”

Mr. Benson was convinced. He hired Ms. Foster to be the keynote speaker at the Woodward Leadership Summit last October.

Shortly after taking the stage, she asked everyone to close their eyes and raise their hands in response to a series of provocative questions: Did they ever lock their car when a black person walked by? Did they think that, yes, Jews really know how to handle money? Have they questioned the intelligence of a man with a heavy southern accent?

People hesitantly, even frightened, raised their hands. By the time Ms. Foster had finished, almost all of her hands, including her own, were up.

“Congratulations. You are certified people,” she said. “It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about knowing when bias comes into play.”

Mr. Benson felt relieved. “I was sitting at a table with someone who started it all with their arms crossed,” he recalled. “His body language said that this dude is not a believer. Halfway through, he laughs and claps.”

Ms. Foster, he says, helped people “feel good with themselves, like you haven’t been an activist or been on this journey in the past, but let’s see how we can move forward.”

In other words, she helped them feel like they belonged in the conversation.

The issue of ownership has become the latest focus in the developing world of programs for corporate diversity, equity and inclusion.

Interest in creating more inclusive jobs has skyrocketed since the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Many corporations have turned their attention to addressing systemic racism and power imbalances—things that have kept boardrooms white and employees of color feeling excluded from office life.

Now, almost three years later, some companies are changing their approach to DEI, even renaming their departments to include “affiliation.” This is the DEI-B era.

Some critics are concerned that this is done to make white people feel comfortable, not to address systemic inequalities, or that it simply allows companies to prioritize coexistence over necessary change.

“Belonging is a way to help non-marginalized people feel part of the conversation,” said Stephanie Creary, associate professor of management at the Wharton School of Business who studies corporate strategies for diversity and inclusion.

She believes that the abstract focus on belonging allows companies to avoid tough conversations about power—and the resistance that those conversations often generate. “The concern is that we are just creating new terms like belonging as a way to deal with this resistance,” Ms Creery said.

Ms Foster argues that, as a practical matter, there will be no justice if the people in power – “white straight men” – feel left out of the conversation. Traditional DEI practitioners “most want to enroll the people they isolate and honestly ostracize,” she said.

An unbiased non-profit business for America recently gave an interview more than two dozen executives from 18 companies and found that this is a common theme. “The way they deployed DEI exacerbated divisions even when dealing with important issues,” said Sarah Bonk, founder and chief executive of BFA. “It caused some hostility, resentment.”

That’s why companies like Woodward are now hiring consultants who specialize in “belonging” and “building bridges.” They come to the aid of executives who fear that national divisions are infiltrating the workplace, threatening to drive a wedge between colleagues and making everyone feel uneasy and defensive.

Professor Creary agrees that these are real problems. “I see that corporations want the conversation to be about how allowing all of us to thrive will help us all together,” she said. But she worries that “belonging” provides cover for people who prefer to maintain the status quo. “There is still a large percentage of people who have zero-sum thinking,” she said. “If I support you, I will lose.”

The obsession with belonging is the result of a widely held corporate standard: to give your all to work. If you have the opportunity to work anywhere and freely discuss social and political issues that are important to you, then ideally you will feel like a part of your company.

The principle of “Employ your whole self” dates back before the pandemic, but has become something of a mandate in its midst, as companies struggled to stem the tide of layoffs. They also responded to concerns that many people feel excluded from work. According to the 2022 think tank report coralroughly half of black and Asian professionals with a bachelor’s degree or higher do not feel part of their job.

Last year, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted its first corporate affiliation survey. Seventy-six percent of respondents said their organization prioritizes ownership as part of their DEI strategy, and 64 percent said they plan to invest more in ownership initiatives this year. Respondents said that identity-based communities, such as employee resource groups, helped strengthen belonging, but mandatory diversity education did not.

Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist and professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, wishes we didn’t talk about identity and belonging. “In a time of growing political polarization, many people’s personalities do not match those of their colleagues,” said Mr. Heidt, a self-described centrist. “I have heard from so many managers. They can’t take it anymore – constant conflict over people’s identities.”

In 2017, he and colleague Caroline Mel launched Institute for Constructive Dialogue, the main product of which is the educational platform “Perspectives”. The tool uses online modules and workshops to help users understand where their values ​​come from and why people from different walks of life can have opposing values.

In 2019, CDI began licensing Perspectives to corporations. The annual fee is between $50 and $150 for an employee license. Companies can also order a live workout menu for $3,500-$15,000 for a full day.

Allegis Global Solutions, a workforce solutions company with 3,500 employees, was one of the first.

The platform has already helped the company deal with some difficult political situations. Last June, 26-year-old Shakara Worrell, a human resources coordinator, was in a meeting when she learned that the Supreme Court had overturned Roe v. USA. Calf. “The whole meeting has stopped,” Ms. Worrell said. “That’s when I realized that I wasn’t the only one who just had a heart attack.”

Ms. Worrell, who is of mixed race, said she joined Allegis in part because the company prioritized belonging. She recalls reading news about police brutality at her previous job and feeling she had to suppress her feelings.

“I just remember sitting in my cube and not being able to just speak my mind,” Ms Worrell said. She recalled thinking, “I really don’t belong.”

Not so in Allegis. There, Ms. Worrell leads Elevate, the company’s employee resource group for women’s empowerment. Following the Supreme Court decision, she and her colleagues decided to hold a series of events to help employees process the decision. When they briefed Human Resources and DEI, they were referred to Prospects.

“Whether they were for or against, we wanted our people to feel good and be okay,” Ms Worrell said.

And were they? Allegis said that about 200 people came to the first meeting, which took place virtually. After that, Ms. Worrell contacted one of those present, who spoke in support of the court’s decision.

“Despite the fact that I was the kind of person who went against the grain,” Ms. Worrell recalls the words of a colleague, “I still felt that I had to share.”

Irshad Manji, founder of a consulting company College of Moral Courage, says the “almost offensive focus on group labels” is a big problem with mainstream diversity, fairness and inclusion efforts. “All this makes people create stereotypes about each other. I am a Muslim and a devout Muslim,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean that I interpret Islam in the same way as any other Muslim.”

Ms. Manji believes that people now use “belonging” as “a tacit admission that traditional DEI doesn’t work.”

So which approach works? In 2018, Autodesk, a software company with 13,700 employees, began planning a cultural shake-up.

Some employees were afraid to offend each other, so they defaulted to being “faux-polite” and “passive-aggressive,” said Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost. Others felt they weren’t supported and didn’t want to speak at meetings.

Autodesk has renamed its Diversity and Inclusion Team Diversity and Belonging Team. Managers have learned strategies to recognize and then counteract their own defensive thinking.

They were given poker chips to “play” every time they spoke so as not to dominate the discussion.

The company paid bonuses to the leaders of the employee resource groups to show their worth. And Mr. Anagnost nominated himself as an executive sponsor of the Autodesk Black Network.

But the company also got into equity. He moved the location of the new office building from Denver to Atlanta, knowing he would have a better chance of attracting black engineering graduates there.

Autodesk regularly polls its employees about their work experience. After the cultural shift, Mr. Anagnost said belonging rates increased for women of color and employees and decreased for white men.

“Then it got back to normal,” he said. “Yes, of course, okay, opportunities will be limited in some areas as you try to increase representation in others. But the level of threat is reduced when you create the feeling of “we can all rise together.”


Live Karnataka results: now ‘south India is BJP free’ says Harge



Karnataka registered a “record” turnout of 73.19 percent in the 10 May vote to elect representatives to the 224-member Assembly.

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Starbucks faces union retaliation for store closure



After workers at a Starbucks store in Ithaca, New York, went on strike last April, a communications specialist from public relations firm Edelman sent out a “real-time alert” by email to Starbucks corporate officials.

“Note about article from The Ithacan discussing the Cornell University Starbucks strike,” wrote the specialist. “Partners have gone on strike over repeated spills of grease traps, resulting in an unsafe environment and inaction on the part of management.”

The story rekindled a discussion among Starbucks management about what to do with the store. The regional director recommended closing because “the space doesn’t meet the needs of our partners or the brand,” but she also noted that they are looking into refurbishment.

Two months later, Starbucks closed the store permanently, prompting workers and federal enforcers to accuse the company of retaliation. Workers recently voted 19-1 in favor of joining Workers United, making it one of 300 Starbucks corporate stores across the country that have been established since late 2021.

The emails that Starbucks disclosed in a recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) lawsuit shed light on Starbucks management’s thoughts leading up to the closure. The store was in a great location with great sales potential, but had serious service problems, the main one being an overflowing grease trap.

In June, Denise Nelsen, senior vice president of US operations, emailed Rossanne Williams, then head of Starbucks’ business in North America, about a debate about whether the store should close permanently or refurbish it.

“We need to resolve these conditions issues because we also continue to receive information about the state of the store,” Nelsen wrote.

Kolya Witek, a barista who worked at the College Avenue establishment, argued that the strike’s unwanted attention prompted Starbucks to close the store for good.

“It was retaliation for the strike we went on because we were forced to work in unsafe conditions,” said Vitek, who now works at another Starbucks store in Ithaca. “They didn’t care [before]. Now that we’re making national news, they suddenly feel uneasy.”

“We need to address these conditions issues because we also continue to receive information about the state of the store.”

— Starbucks spokesperson Denise Nelsen in an email to colleagues.

Starbucks insists it closed the cafe for legitimate business reasons, saying its concerns about the store date back to the previous year. The company also denied that the negative press played any role in the call.

“The media attention did not affect our decision to close the store,” company spokesman Andrew Trull told HuffPost.

It would be illegal for a company to close an individual workplace because of union activity. The General Counsel of the NLRB considered the union’s claims in Ithaca to be justified and filed a lawsuit. sweeping complaint against the company in November last year.

On June 3, 2022, Starbucks told workers that the College Avenue store would be closed permanently, according to the union. But Starbucks emails suggest the company still hadn’t decided what to do with the cafe at the time, in part because the location was so secure.

A memo on the store’s situation stated that it had “the strongest real estate position in the area” and “any move would be worse.” Operations team members recommended a permanent closure, while the “real estate recommendation” for the store was to “close, reinvest and reopen”.

The former Starbucks CEO ran tests on Capitol Hill last month. The union accused the company of closing more than two stores in retaliation.

Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

Days after workers were told the store was closing for good, company officials were still debating whether they should rehabilitate it and reopen it.

“It’s getting dark, this is our last desperate attempt to get [landlord] to solve these problems,” Nelsen wrote to Williams.

Noting the media attention to the store, Nelsen added, “If we can’t get him to respond to this message and cooperate, we will need to discuss a permanent closure.”

Michael Dolce, a lawyer for the union, said the emails show Starbucks hasn’t been honest with store employees. He noted that on the same day that Nelsen and Williams were discussing the store’s possibilities, a Starbucks lawyer sent workers a list of reasons they were closing it for good, including a problematic fat trap.

“At the negotiating table, they told the union they were closing the store for good,” Dolce said. “The plan was No permanently close the store; it was for exploring options.”

Dolce claimed that the negative publicity generated by the strike prompted Starbucks to hurry up and close the store, even as he was still assessing what to do.

Another Starbucks email says the original plan to close was to keep the cafe open until June, but the operating team pushed back the closing date by almost three weeks.

Starbucks says it still considered the closure “permanent” because it could not restore the cafe in a matter of weeks. Instead, it would take one to two years and cost $700,000.

Asked why the company told workers that the store would be closed permanently when repairs were pending, Nelsen said during a labor council lawsuit that the store’s “depth of problems” makes the timing of reopening uncertain.

“Our timeline for something new — like opening a brand new store — is a year,” she said. “So we are literally talking about something that takes so long. Like, yes, it will be treated as a permanent closure.”

Williams played a leading role in the company’s efforts to contain unionism. before leaving Starbucks last June. While in Seattle, the executive visited and worked in stores in the Buffalo area, where the campaign began when workers were considering unionizing – the presence of some workers was deemed close. The emails suggest that Williams received details of the union’s progress.

“It was retaliation for the strike we went on because we were forced to work in unsafe conditions.”

– Starbucks employee Kolya Vitek

In a June 2022 email, the regional COO sent an email to Williams with a “Buffalo CV” calling Ithaca a “hot spot” for union activity that “continues to have Buffalo union organizers”.

She also told Williams about the upcoming union elections. She said the company planned to challenge the store’s recent vote because four employees apparently did not receive ballots. The Union won this vote 7-4.

“These four partners are believed to have no votes,” she wrote. (The challenge eventually failed.)

The College Avenue store is one of 25 stores the union says Starbucks has closed either permanently or temporarily to disrupt the union’s campaign. Union members argue that the Starbucks closure serves two purposes: to disrupt and disperse the core of union support—perhaps provoking the layoffs of baristas who couldn’t or didn’t want to work elsewhere—and to make workers think twice before trying to organize.

Starbucks says it hasn’t closed any stores in retaliation for union activity. But an ALJ has already ruled that Starbucks is illegal. closed the shop who organized into unions, considering the reasons for closing the company “clearly a pretext.” The NLRB General Counsel has not yet announced whether the union’s allegations of nearly two dozen other closures have merit.

After Starbucks announced it was closing the Ithaca store, workers began what it called “bargaining” with the company to discuss their rights during the closure. The workers were offered jobs in other stores. Witek said they pushed for a severance pay for workers who would not take other positions, but the company was strongly against it.

Evan Sunshine, the Ithaca barista who led the bidding, said he didn’t expect Starbucks to close the store for good. He believed that the grease trap was a serious problem and that the company could close the store for a while to fix it, but eventually the workers would be able to return to the same store.

Sunshine said they were raising money to help cover the wages of workers affected by the shutdown.

“We didn’t hit our targets every week,” he said.

Ultimately, according to Sunshine, the closure of the College Avenue store had a major impact on the workforce and organizing campaign in the city. When elections took place in April 2022, the store had 27 employees. Starbucks said that after the closure, fourteen employees agreed to work in other stores, while the rest refused. The vast majority have since left the company.

“Two of the 27 still work at Starbucks,” Sunshine said, referring to himself and Vitek.

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CNN’s Donald Trump Forum was a preview of future political coverage



David Zaslav, chief executive of CNN’s parent company, recently defended the network’s decision to host a live meeting with former President Donald Trump, calling the event “important for America.”

And so it turned out, but perhaps not for the reasons that Mr. Zaslav assumed.

In an uplifting and at times confusing broadcast Wednesday night, Mr. Trump, appearing on CNN for the first time since 2016, unleashed a barrage of lies, sometimes too quickly for his interlocutor, host Caitlan Collins, to intervene.

Time and time again, Mr. Trump has falsely claimed that the 2020 election was rigged. He called E. Jean Carroll a “fool” and attacked her in misogynistic terms. He defended the Capitol rioters on January 6th.

Ms. Collins, calm in the face of Trump’s outrage, interrupted, interceded, corrected and accused the former president of his lies. He often responded by speaking directly over her. When Mr. Trump finally lost his temper and ridiculed Ms. Collins as “an unpleasant person,” some in the lively audience applauded.

It was a preview of what American journalism can expect from the 2024 campaign featuring Mr. Trump, who despite his omnipresence in political life has rarely appeared on mainstream TV outside of Fox News since leaving office.

If the 2016 campaign showed that many Americans can’t agree on common facts, the babylonian nature of New Hampshire City Hall on Wednesday suggests that voters now occupy vastly different universes. Mr. Trump repeated a web of conspiracies about the stolen election and the “beautiful day” of the Capitol riot, language that likely baffled viewers and resonated with the rest as gospel.

“The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Ms. Collins said at one point. You can’t repeat this all night. (He kept saying this.)

Ms. Collins, a rising CNN star who is considered prominent on the network at 9:00 pm, was a lucky choice as moderator. She has been covering for Mr Trump for years, knows his idiosyncrasies and was not reported when Mr Trump tried to intimidate her.

Even Mr. Trump looked stunned when Ms. Collins asked succinctly, “Do you want Ukraine to win this war?” (He didn’t give a direct answer.) She ruthlessly insisted on whether he would sign the federal abortion ban, pointing out, “You didn’t say yes or no.” (Again, Mr. Trump wouldn’t say.)

However, Miss Collins could only do what was the only journalist on the scene. It soon became apparent that the independent Republican and Republican crowd was deeply skeptical of their efforts to rein in Mr. Trump. The format of the town hall, when the former president taunted Ms. Collins, much applause could be heard, made it even more difficult for her to complete her task. (CNN said it assembled the audience after consulting with community groups, faith-based organizations, local Republicans and St. Anselm’s student government.)

When the broadcast ended – after Mr. Trump briefly shook hands with Ms. Collins and said, “Good job,” the cameras switched to a group of unusually subdued CNN analysts.

“We don’t have enough time to check every lie he told,” host Jake Tupper said. Some CNN critics said the same before and again after Wednesday’s broadcast: It was reckless to allow Mr. Trump to speak to millions of people live in prime time.

Mr. Trump’s penchant for spreading lies is well known. Even Fox News, which provided former president-friendly forums with conservative stars like Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, didn’t host Mr. Trump live for months.

He is also the de facto leader of the Republican Party, which means his remarks are inherently worthy of the attention of voters on the cusp of a new presidential campaign. CNN said in a statement late Wednesday that its town hall reflects the network’s “role and responsibility: to get answers and hold the powers that be accountable.”

Producers and journalists from other major networks watched CNN on Wednesday with curiosity, skepticism, and perhaps a little trepidation.

If Mr. Trump remains the leading Republican nominee, he will be on their airwaves soon enough.

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