Companies exclude people on purpose all the time.
They exclude them because of their race, their gender, their sexual orientation, their work status, or because their opinion goes against the status quo.
I know, because it just happened to me.
I’m sharing this story to remind you that these things do still happen. All the time. To lots of different people.
I was recently asked to take part in a Culture Amp survey with one of my clients. I’m embedded enough in the organization that they chose to include me. So, I took the survey.
The results that came back were abysmal. The gender split was heartbreaking. Almost none of the “non-men” (their term) feel respected. They don’t think they’re paid fairly. They don’t feel heard.
This couldn’t be ignored. Leadership had to address it, so they gathered the “non-men” on a Zoom call with HR. The one woman in leadership moderated. I shared my opinion and asked a few questions. And yes, I did ask a couple of the difficult questions that others wanted to ask, but wouldn’t because they feared repercussions. I know this because those women told me.
I was shooshed mid-question at one point. Like, actually shooshed.
It was shit show, so a second meeting was scheduled. Without leadership. This time, I didn’t get an invite. When asked why, I was told that leadership wanted to handle contractors differently now. There would be a separate meeting for that group.
Here’s the thing. I’m one of only two “non-male” contractors. The other is an intern. They silenced my voice because they didn’t like my questions. They silenced my voice because it didn’t fit their narrative. I was EXCLUDED from a conversation around INCLUSION. I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening.
Some people will criticize me for posting this.
“You’re going to get a reputation.”
“People are going to say you’re a troublemaker.”
I’ve been thinking about that last one. Why does being honest often get someone labeled “troublemaker?”
I’m not honest because I want to start trouble. It’s quite the opposite, actually. I’m honest because I care. If I see something that doesn’t seem right, I’m going to say something. I work in tech, a place where innovation is supposed to be embraced. We can always do things better!
So yes, I will speak up. I’ll be a troublemaker if it can give a voice to those who are most often not heard.
We can do better, people. I believe that.