By Maria Collar, SIOP Blogger
Gandhi’s biggest life regret was drinking milk. Mine, so far, has been remaining peacefully quiet after an ethnic slur. To this day the rage for not taking action haunts my every waking moment, taunting me to gain a louder voice and advocate more strongly for my clients.
Considering that Gandhi was a strict vegetarian sworn to stand against animal cruelty, and I a mere youth in training, the stakes were not quite the same. After all, if Gandhi, with his peaceful and wholesome nature, ever made the grave mistake of drinking milk before becoming a strict vegetarian, the worst that could happen was to have nightmares of cows.
Most often, on an effort to alleviate some of the issues associated with the silent toxicity, entities establish an open door policy. On its defining essence, this policy represents the core values of diversity, inclusion, and participation by fostering communication. Unfortunately, these days it has transformed into an incredible opportunity to jump through the hurdles of regulations.
When implementing an effective open door policy, here are some points that should be considered:
- Actively seek different opportunities to urge members, at all levels, to gain a robust voice against discrimination and harassment. Although there is a lovely copy of the company’s policy against harassment and discrimination securely tucked in everyone’s drawer not all members of the team will have a robust voice against the binds of segregation. Some could be struggling with the painful reality of mental health illness therefore making a clear stand double difficult. Others, for fear of retaliation or disrupting relationships, will chose to remain a passive observant but actively seek opportunities to fleet the sinking shipwreck.
- Provide different venues for members, at all levels, to securely and freely communicate the pulse of the organization, regardless of mental health condition. Some people are great debaters and others painfully shy writers, nevertheless all should be provided with an equal opportunity to freely and securely express their opinions. Don’t limit the power of open communication by secluding its function to a single method, allow for various anonymous and discrete opportunities to best accommodate for all preferences.
- Implement professional mentorship opportunities for members, at all levels. Never underestimate the power of positive relationships and mentorship opportunities. Mentorships afford an opportunity to find answers, connect with resources, and, could even, be a source of support while going through a tough hardship. Allowing for professional mentorship opportunities permits your team, at all levels, to receive the necessary support and encouragement to better adjust to your culture.
- Educate members, at all levels, to remain sensitive yet vigilant to harassment and discrimination. Allow your team to establish higher core competencies by providing numerous diversity training opportunities. Even though speaking about the new ADAAA regulations may lower the possibility for legitimation it does not eliminates the prospect of grievances. Remaining sensitive to everyone’s needs entails more than just another run down of the law, it requires continuous training and education.