Our mission emphasizes important values: being inclusive, creating a place where everyone wants to come to work, using everyone's talents.
We already uphold this mission in a variety of positive ways, through both formal policies as well as the informal things that each of you do every day.
The strength of our values is tested when things happen that depart from our beliefs — someone is accidentally excluded because they are different, an inappropriate joke is told, someone's disability is discussed behind their back, and so forth.
The way we know our values are strong is by what we do when we see those departures from how we would like to operate:
Does someone try to include that person in the conversation, emphasize their talents? Does someone not laugh at that joke and call for a break? Does someone say we shouldn't speculate about others and change the topic?
These are small simple moves — any of us could do them — but they are important. They set the tone. They create the organization that we all want to work in. Everyone can feel included, valued, and safe.
The training you are about to participate in has been around for ten years and has been used in businesses, government agencies, non-profits, and universities.
It is called Bystander Awareness training. It is about being an active and effective bystander.
The training will give you a professional presence and awareness so that you uphold our organization's highest values, wherever you work. Each of you has an important role. We all want to be part of shaping positive values and responding to any departures from our values. Sometimes we do not quite know how.
As with any skill, practice helps make us ready. We care about creating an inclusive workplace where our diversity gives us lots of new ideas about how to operate more effectively. That is why we are taking the time to do some training, to step back and consider how each of us is an agent in shaping the diverse organization of the future.