Good leaders use emotional intelligence to stop microaggression in the workplace. Would your company leadership consider the following to be “good-natured” joking in the office: unwanted “compliments” toward attractive female co-workers, a disabled co-worker being made the subject of some jokes, or a male co-worker being mocked because he isn’t considered masculine enough? No, because these employees are not being made to feel welcome.
Employers should care about this type of workplace behavior not only because they should want to be good corporate citizens, but because this sort of discriminatory behavior is harmful in business. So much so that US legislation like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Civil Rights Act of 1991 was passed to address various types of overt workplace discrimination.
But there’s one thing these acts cannot address that you as a leader can: a new form of discrimination called microaggression.
Microaggressions are everyday acts that carry a subtle hint of racism, sexism, or homophobia. I see it encroaching into many workplaces, making professional lives more challenging and leaving a damaging effect on businesses.
Corporations are realizing that unconscious bias, a form of microaggression, prevents improvement of workforce diversity and employee productivity. Microaggressions that point to ageism and race can also have harmful effects on employees.
While microaggression is an age-old issue, it cannot be accepted as the norm in the workplace. Incoming generations joining the workforce shouldn’t be left defenseless to stop it. It is important to recognize microaggressions for what they are, manage them effectively, and prevent their damage to performance, productivity, and profitability.
Though it may be a byproduct of diversity, you cannot allow microaggression to consume your people as well as your profit. Recognize where it starts, learn how to micro-manage it and grow with the process.
1. Recognise where it starts.
A microaggression is a subtle way of showing one’s bias and discriminating tendencies. Any statement, joke, or inappropriate inquiry alluding to someone’s gender, race, or even age, can be a sign of a microaggression, especially if it’s said in the context of one’s weakness.
A high turnover rate can also be a sign of microaggressions in the work environment. Any personal attack based on one’s unique qualities can build up feelings of incompetence, inadequacy, or resentment, which leads an employee to underperform and search for a different job.
According to a study by Michigan State University, all organizations should consider the nature and impact of sly or seemingly unintentional forms of discrimination. Racial microaggressions, insidious mistreatment, and exclusion are often discounted because they are vague or cryptic and the perpetrators can argue that they are unintentional. Such experiences, however, can have a significant detrimental effect on employee morale and productivity, resulting in substantial financial losses and even a risk of litigation.
2. Open the lines of communication.
The workplace is every worker’s second home. The environment should make them feel secure and respected, which starts with having an open communication line among employees and with the management.
Create sessions that are intended solely for discussing microaggressions to raise awareness and minimize these behaviors at work. Hold support groups or forums that allow reports of incidences of microaggressions. This could inspire making new policies that are more inclusive and improve the company’s ethical standards.
It’s also good to get workers involved in the community, as it allows them to learn about each other and tackle the bigger problems out there together.
3. Grow with the process.
Make your workers aware that working for professional success is not an end in itself. A person’s self-worth also comes from the wealth of experience and relationships he or she has built over the years.
Microaggressions in the workplace will continue to challenge every aspect of a business along with its processes, organizational structure, network of people, ethical standards, and overall success. Regardless of size or nature, every organization should lay a sufficient groundwork for a workplace that secures both its people and the business in the years ahead.
Improving work relationships may not have a numerical value of its own, but a better quality work environment does translate into higher productivity, which if handled correctly, can lead to greater profits. That’s what makes the people who work with you such an invaluable resource.
The digital transformation of Parish Councils has begun. Parish Councils originated in medieval times and are the first level of government for UK citizens. They are now adopting cloud computing services to provide a better service for the local community.
We are proud to be helping this transformation. Andy Black Associates (ABA) is an official G-Cloud 9 (G9) cloud service provider offering a suite of digital services for Parish Councils and local government. The cloud services became available for public sector institutions via the UK Government Digital Marketplace on 22nd May 2017.
ABA provide Parish Councils with a specifically designed, low-cost, easy-to-use and customisable WordPress website template, accessed as a cloud service, that will enable Parish Councils to comply with the 2015 Transparency Code and improve engagement with the local community.
The Parish Council website is also fully responsive when viewed on a mobile device. This is particularly important as today web pages are more likely to be viewed on mobiles than on PC’s, and this trend will only accelerate. Younger parishioners are overwhelmingly “mobile-first” and this key demographic will be difficult to engage if a Parish Council website is not mobile-friendly and responsive.
The software-as-a-service for Parish Councils includes monthly backups, data storage, data security and support – ABA manage all the technical infrastructure. This allows parish clerks to focus on managing the parish paperwork and documentation. When compliance information needs to be published, the service is simple to use and parish clerks can easily upload the information to their sites.
End of year accounts and annual governance statements
Internal audit reports
List of councillor or member responsibilities
Details of public land and building assets
The minutes, agendas and meeting papers of formal meetings.
As well as the required compliance data listed above, additional information can also be easily added, including:
Land & property planning applications
RSS feeds from local government
Neighbourhood Development Plans
Surveys and polls
Social media integration
Combining the required compliance data with complementary parish information makes the websites more engaging. In addition, when parishioners visit the site they will find the navigation and drop-down menus are uncluttered, mobile-friendly and easy-to-use.
The cloud service has been designed to take account of the various levels of network coverage in rural areas and can be accessed on PC’s, laptops and mobile devices connected to 3G, 4G or broadband networks. Parish clerks who live in rural areas without broadband can use a laptop connected via the “hotspot” capabilities of a 3G or 4G mobile device to update and upload content onto the cloud service.
Parish clerks can check the 3G and 4G network coverage for their parish using this free crowdsourced geo-location tool.
The service was developed and iterated over the last year by collaborating with parish clerks, parish councillors and local government officers and is currently being rolled out by the Herefordshire Association of Local Councils, where over 50 Parish Councils have already adopted the cloud service. Some “early adopter” parish clerks are using their newly acquired WordPress skills, learnt by using the ABA video elearning library, to turn the Parish Council websites into community hubs.
Take a look at some examples of our Parish Council websites:
Lynda Wilcox, the Chief Executive of Herefordshire Association of Local Councils, said “The Parish Councils in Hereford using the service have already noticed an increase in the number of parishioners attending meetings, more engagement with older parishioners by email and also more younger parishioners turning up at meetings wanting to get involved in local democracy.”
Mark Millmore, ABA Director, said “Our low-cost and easy-to-use, software-as-a-service (SaaS) can be easily rolled out to any of the 8,356 Parish Councils in England and G-Cloud will be an important route for us to reach these government organisations.
Our software-as-a-service (SaaS) business model will enable Parish Councils to comply with the Transparency Code and improve engagement with the local community. It will also allow significant savings to be made from the UK Government £4.7 million grant managed through the National Association of Local Councils (NALC’s) and its 38 independent County Associations to ensure all 8,356 Parish Councils are compliant with the Transparency Code.
Over the last year we have collaborated with stakeholders to iterate, test and design the service. During this period we have also developed templates, workflows, a cloud server infrastructure and can scale our service to meet client requirements.
The ABA pricing matrix for Parish Council websites being offered to NALC and the 38 independent County Associations that administer the 8,356 Parish Councils is a one off fee of:
£500 each for 1-10 websites
£400 each for 11-30 websites
£350 each for 31-50 websites
£300 each for 51-99 websites
£250 each for 100+ websites
The one-off fee includes all technical set up on a dedicated cloud server at a secure 1&1 UK datacentre, domain name registration, custom email server, plugins, logo, menus and pages, SEO, loading of last 12 months archive Parish Council content, Google Maps integration and access to a customised Parish Council specific video e-learning library.
After the first year, there is a £100 annual fee for each website that covers support, maintenance, updates, backups and access to a Parish Council specific video e-learning library (available online or as CD’s).
Whilst not a requirement of Transparency Code compliance, if requested, we can also provide SSL certificates (HTTPS) and .gov.uk domain registrations for each website, these additional services are charged at cost price.
Our low-cost and easy-to-use cloud service will enable Parish Councils to comply with the Transparency Code and improve engagement with the local community. As such, we are delighted to have been awarded a place on the G9 Agreement, the latest iteration of G-Cloud, and can’t wait to take advantage of the many opportunities that the initiative offers for both suppliers and government bodies. The digital transformation of parish councils has begun.”
Digital transformation is not just for parish councils, soon every citizen in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire will benefit from Fastershire.
Fastershire is a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Gloucestershire County Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities.
Phase 1 of the project, in partnership with BT, will see around 90% of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire having access to fibre broadband, with all premises in the project area being able to access a minimum of 2Mbps.
Phase 2 of the project will extend fibre coverage further across both counties to make ultrafast speeds available to over 6,500 of the most difficult to reach rural homes and businesses.
The ultimate aim is that by 2018 there will be access to fast broadband for all who need it. Fastershire is not just about technology. The project also includes social and digital inclusion activities, and an extensive ‘Business Support’ programme, designed to help small and medium size businesses enhance their digital skills and use fibre broadband to grow their businesses and be more competitive.
To help the small businesses of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire capitalise on this opportunity, ABA can also provide low-cost, easy-to-use and customisable WordPress ecommerce website templates, accessed as a cloud service. An example of the ecommerce website template is being used by Pengethley Farm Shop.
Small businesses in Herefordshire and Gloucestershire using our ecommerce cloud service will also be able to take advantage of the ABA digital transformation platform to drive business and generate revenue.
It is expected that Fastershire will help to boost the local economy by £420m over the next ten years.
Fastershire will revolutionise the way that people of all ages across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire participate in democracy, work, learn and play, and will benefit generations to come.
The “parish council” model for local democracy can also be used as a template for nation-building after war or revolution.
For enquires about the parish council and ecommerce cloud services contact Mark Millmore on 07891108154
For enquires about the digital transformation platform and digital training contact Andy Black on 07881 314570
G-Cloud is a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) initiative to encourage public sector adoption of cloud services by connecting government organisations with providers of all sizes in a secure and open environment. The CCS acts on behalf of the Crown to drive savings for the taxpayer and improve the quality of commercial and procurement activity across both local and central government.
To qualify for inclusion in G9, organisations need to prove that they are a suitable and secure potential partner for government technology projects. They must be prepared to list the capabilities of their products, along with indicative pricing. As a result, G9 provides public sector bodies with an open, secure and transparent digital marketplace in which to search for cloud solutions.
It also provides new business opportunities to businesses that pass the checks required to qualify for G9 status. Crown Commercial Service suppliers are given an opportunity to advertise their services to a wide range of interested public sector bodies in a competitive environment. Since it became available in 2012, UK government organisations have placed billions of pounds’ worth of orders through the service with most orders being won by SME’s.