AAG continues to address concerns of individuals, employers, and organizations in the continuing and unpredictable COVID-19 era. For essential workers, those working from home, and others being called back to their worksite, questions loom about how we are staying healthy—physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. When it comes to health, the conversations primarily are about physical health—how to recognize COVID symptoms, self-protective measures including face masks, social distancing, wearing gloves at the grocery store, and washing groceries. Recent articles, however, are also discussing mental health and behaviors that may signal a decrease in emotional balance and mental wellness.
By Patricia Arredondo and Kayla Byrd
In a society that touts meritocracy, many Americans have come to believe that going to work every day, perhaps even working 2-3 jobs to meet basic family needs and covering healthcare insurance, would allow them to experience self-sufficiency and autonomy. The emergence of the Coronavirus outbreak, an uncontrollable variable, is undeniably calling attention to not only income but also health, and questionably impacting levels of life satisfaction among all walks of life across a range of professional settings. Heads of households have been furloughed, college students cannot continue their work study assignments or part-time jobs, and more than 6.6 million are filing for unemployment. This is not the career and work scenario most of us ever imagined. In mid-April alone, according to the Department of Labor, 22 million are now unemployed.
The surge of collective loss being experienced at one time is producing more urgency for recognizing psychological needs that are met through having employment—our work identity. Erik Erikson, a developmental psychologist, known for his theory of identity across the lifespan described two of his stages as Intimacy vs Isolation (ages 21-39) and Generativity vs Stagnation (ages 40-65). These are exactly the ages when people expect to be applying their skills and education in meaningful ways. Interviews on social media sites underscore the sense of loss, confusion, frustration, and questioning about the meaning of work and work identity that many had not considered before.
“Many of the tasks employees are doing now were not imagined even weeks ago. People are becoming crisis managers, sanitation monitors and work-from-home coordinators. Meanwhile, workers in overrun government offices, hospitals, grocery stores, as well as those operating out of the public eye in supply chains, are having to find new ways of working that allow them to manage the onslaught of professional responsibilities they now face.”
-Article on theconversation.com (Cohen, 2020)
This blog was drafted about two weeks ago, following International Women’s Day 2020. In the interim, the global and domestic threat of coronavirus and its effects has become the daily headline with uncertainty looming in many sectors of the workforce. Considering that many of the lowest-paid employees in the service sector are further threatened with job loss, we decided to still post the blog on Women Working in the Shadows, highlighting the lived reality of many mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends.
Guest Blogger: Pam McElvane, CEO & Publisher, Diversity MBA Media
I talk about this almost every day. It starts with my 17-year-old, reminding my gifted child who attends the top high school in the state, to be woke, be safe, and be careful so you don’t make a mistake that will cost you your future. Some would say, really Pam, isn’t that a bit much? Maybe, I’d say, but better safe than sorry.
I know the realities and I am not blind to what is happening socially in black communities around the world. The ‘me-too movement’ sustains among the GenZ’s (18-22 years) as they prepare to enter the workforce. If you think authenticity in the workplace is happening now, just wait until the boldness catches up (#me too in the workplace.com).
Companies today, regardless of size, are navigating 5 generations in the workplace. And the state of what each generation requires is as different as they come. While there are similarities within the generations, there are similarities among groups of color. But for this blog, I want to discuss Black Talent, the shrinking population in the workforce. We are not only making room for the Hispanic rise, but the replacement of the once largest minority in America.
For many years, I have sought out writings and proverbs that inspire, motivate, and provide wisdom in the midst of managing multiple priorities, particularly my daily work routines. Creating space to clear my mind is not a matter simply of closing my eyes; getting centered and re-centered must be intentional. To this end, I have found many inspirational writings that relate to women’s leadership, managing change, being optimistic, and finding common understanding in cross cultural relationships.
Historic and contemporary voices particularly of individuals who have transcended adversity and multiple life challenges, such as Nelson Mandela, serve to temper what I might consider to be a tough day I might have had. In this first 2020 commentary, I will share inspirations for today and tomorrow in the form of proverbs, philosophical thoughts, and reflections from a range of individuals. I hope these will be useful to you as you embark on a new decade.
The end of another Latinx/Hispanic Heritage month ends on October 15th following special events and celebrations on campuses and in workplaces. In this newsletter, the Arredondo Advisory Group (AAG) will focus on a set of facts about the heterogenous Latinx population that have relevance for employers and university administrators as they plan for the future.
The Big Picture
Since the 1990’s demographic projections have underscored growth for the Latinx/Hispanic populations based on immigration and childbirth. However, in 2000, a downturn in immigration began particularly from Mexico, the source of the largest percentage of Latinx immigrants. Current annual growth since 2010 is 2.0% down from 3-4 % in previous years (Flores, Lopez, & Krogstad (2019). Additionally, births to Latinas are down. Women, particularly of Mexican heritage historically have had the highest percentage of childbirths. That fell by 31% between 2007-2107 (Tavernise, 2019). The most important fact of these trends, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, is that the U.S.-born Latinx population is currently 67% and the foreign-born or immigration Latinx population is 33% (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barerra, & Lopez, 2017).
Compelling Facts for Today and Tomorrow
Most employers will argue that business success is about talent, competence, and fit, and for the foreseeable future, Latinx people will be contributors to business success. However, in the midst of a tense sociopolitical climate Latinx people are often portrayed in the media as primarily non-English-speaking immigrants or the “other”. Accepting these images is a mistake for employers and institutions of higher education because there are compelling facts that indicate that this population cannot be ignored. Currently, Latinx people are approximately 18% or 60 million of the U.S. population as reported in the Community Population Survey (2017). It is predicted that by 2050, Latinx will be nearly 30% of the total population (Monthly Labor Review, 2015).
The fact that 67% of the current Latinx population has been born in the U.S., introduces other co-relating data points regarding age, English proficiency, education, the economy, professions, women in the workplace, and geography.
Cultural competency development is being discussed more often as an asset in organizations, “something” everyone should become good at and embrace. We describe cultural competency as a skillset grounded in three domains of learning; these domains are increased self-awareness, new and enhanced awareness and knowledge about others, and the application of this awareness and knowledge to enhance workplace relationships, performance, self-confidence, and workplace climate. In the next sections, we will unpack each domain and introduce constructs that are relevant to leveraging cultural competency.
By Yue Li, M.S., Doctoral Candidate in Counseling Psychology, Indiana University
When we talk about sexism and gender discrimination in the workplace, many of us may first think of compelling evidence such as the gender wage gap and the strikingly and disproportionately low percentage of women CEOs in the S&P 500 companies. Yes, it is old news that American women only make about 80 cents for every dollar that men make, and the situation has remained unchanged in the recent decade based on data from OECD in 20171(See Figure 1.). A report published in 2019 by the Catalyst Organisation2 continues to find that, while about 45% of the employees in S&P 500 companies are women, only 21.2% of the board members, 11% of the top earners, and 5.2% of the CEOs are women2 (See Figure 2).
However, the whole picture of workplace discrimination and sexism expands beyond the readily quantifiable measures such as salary and occupancy of leadership positions. Underneath these more than disappointing numbers, what is perpetuating the discriminatory practices based on gender at workplace? How is everyday sexism such as gender microaggressions experienced by average working women? How might employers and managers create a greater sense of organizational justice among workers of all genders and therefore a more affirming, growth-inducing, and innovative business? Political and social psychologists Sidanius and Pratto used their social dominance theory3 to illustrate oppressive experiences at the personal, intergroup, and system-wide level, which offers an excellent roadmap to understanding gender discrimination at work.
A few months ago, I was invited to give a keynote at a university. As I thought about multiple inspirational topics, I decided on the topic of “caring”. In these days of public displays of rudeness, disrespect, and other forms of psychological harm, I think promoting acts and environments of positive interpersonal caring can go a long way. Smiles, saying thank-you, holding the door open, and when necessary, saying “I apologize”, are gestures that can lessen tension at work and perhaps even contribute to a sense of individual well-being and connection.
Pitfalls, vulnerability, and challenges to self-confidence are not uncommon for emerging professionals. Whether you are a new supervisor in healthcare or the technology field, a junior professor in STEM, or a leader for your own non-profit, trepidation is not unusual. However, many emerging leaders find themselves with an imposter syndrome that can immobilize their career trajectory. To move forward, working through the emotions and mind games must be intentional.
Ten years ago, I interviewed five diverse, emerging leaders in sales, merchandising, communications, and finance positions (Diversity MBA Magazine, 2010). Not surprisingly, their thoughts about leadership resonate with us today; especially in the rapidly changing global and technology-driven environment.
They described “leadership makers” or the qualities and skills that build leaders. These are leadership courage, belief in oneself, and grit, among other competencies.