Talk

Advanced search

Workplace encouraging culture change

(75 Posts)
JoodyBlue Wed 18-Nov-20 17:24:00

My workplace has just issued an LGBTQ+ toolkit and sent an email from HR to indicate that training and awareness sessions will follow. I have read the documents through. While I accept that everyone should be able to feel comfortable at work, and whilst I would always treat individuals with respect and sensitivity, this is a call to action. For example, there is a section that talks about language, suggesting that inclusive language would include parent/carer instead of mother or father. I am deeply uncomfortable about the reframing of our language in this way and hence I find my own views are compromised by the active nature of the advice.

The document also addresses gender neutral toilets, speaks of micro-aggressions towards trans people, speaks of good allyship, and speaks about the benefits of being able to bring your "whole self" to work. It is not simply following a "live and let live" approach, which I would be happy with. Nor is it adopting an anti-bullying approach, which I feel I would always do. This is something akin to having to prove you think the right way. There is a section that talks of anonymous reporting of individuals to HR/manager.

I honestly don't know what I can do. I do manage a small team, and so will probably be asked to cascade information at some point. Is this it then? Is it the case that inclusivity within an organisation now means excluding those who are not comfortable with this ideology? It goes beyond simply respecting people. I am NOT happy to use the word parent instead of mother. I wonder if there is any recourse for people like me, other than resigning my job?

Is anyone else facing this? How are you coping with it?

OP’s posts: |
CoffeeCheeseandCupcakes Wed 18-Nov-20 17:30:37

Saying parent/carer instead of mother or father is simply acknowledging that not everyone is raised by the traditional mother/father relationship. Some are raised by grandparents, or aunts/uncles, or any other multitude of possibilities.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 18-Nov-20 17:32:45

How tedious, OP.

I’m sure most adults are perfectly capable of behaving in a inclusive way towards their colleagues without being instructed by management to do so. After all, the Equality Act has been around for ten years now.

In your shoes, I might be tempted to just draw my team’s attention to the company’s relevant policies and remind people of the need to stick to them. No need for anything else to be added. Unless you’re aware of any issues with discrimination that have arisen recently? Even then, existing policy should suffice.

CoffeeCheeseandCupcakes Wed 18-Nov-20 17:36:38

Hit post too quick - but was just making the point that there are a multitude of reasons for some of these "culture changes" that you should be aware of before completely writing them off.

But also - a company has every right to instil the culture they want. If you disagree with that and don't want to participate you don't have to stay.

JoodyBlue Wed 18-Nov-20 17:40:19

No issues with discrimination I don't think. The organisation is big on "values", so it goes beyond policies. I suppose I am wondering if my own values of freedom of thought, expression, language are now at odds with those of my employer. I take the point about "parent/carer". I think I am very upset by the recent replacement of the word woman/mother on various advertising for women. Perhaps the shoe is now on the other foot. I do feel as if I don't fit into the new world we inhabit.

OP’s posts: |
JoodyBlue Wed 18-Nov-20 17:42:43

@CoffeeCheeseandCupcakes indeed. It isn't that easy though. Mortgage etc! They obviously do and are creating the culture they want. I think the irony for me is that it is the "inclusivity" that is excluding people like me.

OP’s posts: |
ImaginaryCat Wed 18-Nov-20 17:47:01

If they were advocating replacing mother with 'birth giver' or some such nonsense then I'd agree. But switching to carer/guardian is about prioritising the feelings of children who are not in traditional family environments. It's been fairly standard language in most education settings for a while.

JoodyBlue Wed 18-Nov-20 17:58:12

Ok that I can see. Still I have a sense of unease. It relates to feeling watched in one's behaviour. Almost as if waiting to be caught out. Perhaps I am over-reacting. One of the benefits of posting here is people do tell you what they think!

OP’s posts: |
OldCrone Wed 18-Nov-20 18:06:24

the benefits of being able to bring your "whole self" to work

This is the part which I would be uncomfortable with. What does this mean? Why should anyone feel the need to bring their 'whole self' to work? Unless you work in some artistic environment, surely work is where you put on your work clothes and your work persona and do your job. I've never seen work as somewhere to express my 'whole self', and in some jobs I had (such as teaching), that would have been wholly inappropriate.

gardenbird48 Wed 18-Nov-20 18:06:32

this sounds like an ill thought through move - if it is introducing this concept in a 'compelled belief in ideology' sort of way rather than the 'live and let live' with maybe a bit of anti-bullying.

Do they have specific plans for 'gender neutral/mixed sex' toilets? If so, I'd say that's potentially a big concern for you.

When they mention anonymous reporting to HR, do they expand on what can be reported and what consequences there may be? What are the current policies for dispute resolution between colleagues?

Are the company proposing to make any changes in the way they gather their stats on the protected characteristics in line with the EA 2010 and therefore their monitoring and performance on discrimination in the workplace? ie. swapping gender for sex on employee data gathering, asking for gender identity information (they need to be aware of the GDPR regulations around holding data on employees that doesn't relate to their statutory obligations.

thinkingaboutLangCleg Wed 18-Nov-20 18:09:04

What a bore, OP. Depends how much you want to talk sense to these virtue-signalling numpties, who won't listen to you anyway.

It might be worth picking up a couple of points: loos and language. I'd just say yeah ok to the rest.

If they're thinking of making the women's loo mixed-sex (rather than converted to all-in-one loo with washbasin), I'd want to point out reasons why women need privacy, eg when washing out a menstrual cup.

Have you read the threads here about woman-erasing (not 'inclusive') language? I'd stand up for use of normal English, as 'inclusive' jargon excludes a lot of people who don't understand it, including non-native speakers.

As a manager, you'd probably be safer not revealing your feelings about this. In this creepy workplace culture, it's hard to gauge whether any of your team are likely to inform on you. Just give the required information neutrally.

Best of luck, OP.

thinkingaboutLangCleg Wed 18-Nov-20 18:14:03

Why should anyone feel the need to bring their 'whole self' to work? ... surely work is where you put on your work clothes and your work persona and do your job.

I agree. What if your whole self would park your motorbike beside the desk and play loud rock music all day? Actually, I'd prefer that colleague to the virtue-signallers.

similarminimer Wed 18-Nov-20 18:16:40

Parent/carer instead of mother/father is fine, surely? Acknowledging that children live in a variety of families and that childcare is not woman's work.

similarminimer Wed 18-Nov-20 18:19:52

Sorry - I see that's already been addressed. But using that as the first example rather gives the impression that you are jumping to a view.

ChattyLion Wed 18-Nov-20 18:21:53

I also have a problem with being encouraged to be bringing my ‘whole self’ to work, while authenticity is clearly important on some issues and it can be awful when your values do not align with your employers‘, i also think that professionalism, in the current political context, is being actively eroded and wonder who’s gaining from that. I don’t think it’s end users or service users or employees.

I want a private life, I don’t want my professional life in it. I want a separate professional life and am happy to not foreground elements of my personal politics etc in that.

I don’t mean that professionalism means being macho, presenteeism, discriminatory, following a default Male template, or only doing things one way or anything like that. I see professionalism as valuing expertise and being responsible for doing something well, I suppose, plus all the usual values about serving the public.

The whole self at work idea is a stupid buzz phrase that for some reason is superficially attractive to employers who would actually properly shit themselves if any of us actually did Bring our Whole Selves to work. And for the most part I am much happier with my colleagues revealing only as much of their Whole Selves as professionalism allows, then more only if we actually become friends..

Neolara Wed 18-Nov-20 18:24:14

Isn't the concept of bringing your whole self to work just saying that people shouldn't feel that they need to hide key aspects of who they are at work. So, for example, people shouldn't have to hide the fact they are gay or trans for fear of negative responses from others. I would say that I am fairly GC, but i think that's a pretty reasonable expectation.

WarOnWomen Wed 18-Nov-20 18:39:21

Do I bring my whole self in, then my whole self out? In, out in out? Can I shake it all about?

Goosefoot Wed 18-Nov-20 18:47:45

Neolara

Isn't the concept of bringing your whole self to work just saying that people shouldn't feel that they need to hide key aspects of who they are at work. So, for example, people shouldn't have to hide the fact they are gay or trans for fear of negative responses from others. I would say that I am fairly GC, but i think that's a pretty reasonable expectation.

But what they are saying rather contradicts that, since they are asking people to grass on fellow employees who don't think in the prescribed way.

WarOnWomen Wed 18-Nov-20 18:51:19

OP, I get why you feel uncomfortable about this. While it's absolutely right that there should be policies on discrimination and bullying and treating people with respect and professionalism, it's that whole level of woke speak and think that is unpalatable. Micro-aggressions - what are they? Very subjective. How do you prove that you didn't do it? Also, policing colleagues through anonymous reporting- what if a person or a group of people in your department didn't like you - they could make it up and others could back them up, even if untrue.

WarOnWomen Wed 18-Nov-20 18:53:59

I'm quietly open about my GC views at my work but if this policy was brought in, people who had different views could report me.

FamilyOfAliens Wed 18-Nov-20 19:39:50

Neolara

Isn't the concept of bringing your whole self to work just saying that people shouldn't feel that they need to hide key aspects of who they are at work. So, for example, people shouldn't have to hide the fact they are gay or trans for fear of negative responses from others. I would say that I am fairly GC, but i think that's a pretty reasonable expectation.

Judging by the OP, I think being GC is probably one part of your whole self you’d be well advised not to bring to work.

JoodyBlue Wed 18-Nov-20 20:25:23

Thanks for the comments everyone. I really appreciate them. I also have taken on board the point about the parent/carer and I agree with what people have said about it. I used the example because I had got myself really worked up on the recent postings about La Leche League and media coverage around the use of the word mother. Which goes to show perhaps how one can get caught up in a storm. Good learning! Yes I think the point is, I am unable to bring a gender critical self to work. Although I still think, and I have given it a lot of thought, that it is a reasonable liberal position to hold, and that it should be possible to hold it and still hold down a job. I may not come back to the thread for a while and so I wanted to say thanks for the support, the challenge, the ideas and the engagement.

OP’s posts: |
ThatIsNotMyUsername Wed 18-Nov-20 20:34:02

I assume they also protect the rights of staff with disabilities, basis of religion/sex/etc etc etc. I assume not though.

Stonewall?

WeetabixBananaHipsterFFS Wed 18-Nov-20 20:42:06

Do I bring my whole self in, then my whole self out? In, out in out? Can I shake it all about?

That well-upholstered lad at a certain children’s charity tried it and found himself without employment. The answer, therefore, is no. Partial self only and definitely no shaking.

ThatIsNotMyUsername Wed 18-Nov-20 20:53:25

How do you not take your whole self into work? Unless you have a prosthetic limb and leave it at home of course... how much of your ‘inner self’ do you need to bring? I am pretty grumpy but tend not to bring that into work and I know some people who are rather gastric...

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in