We are so lucky to have amazing volunteers that support the work of our chapter. Every year, SEWI-ATD recognizes one person as our Volunteer of the Year. We are proud to announce that Megan Cardenas is the recipient of the 2020 Bob Von Der Linn Volunteer of the Year award!
This award is named after Bob Von Der Linn, who served as the president of the chapter. This award recognizes his spirit of dedication to the chapter’s mission and his commitment to engaging other professionals so the chapter would flourish for years to come.
Megan certainly carries on Bob's legacy of service. For years, she has led the Leaders of Learning PDN and has been an instrumental part of this chapter. Congratulations, Megan, on this well deserved honor!
By Kristin Derwinski, Executive Consultant and Coach, Stewart Leadership
Earlier this year, we facilitated a webinar on Building a Resilient Workforce. We introduced the three skills needed to Recharge Your Leadership, which include: Resilience, Connection, and Empathy,
In a series of articles to follow, we will share highlights from our webinar and provide helpful hints and tools for building your leadership skills.
Let’s focus on Resilience. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after facing adversity or experiencing a setback. It is about seeking advice or guidance from others when navigating a challenging time. It is the ability to grow after facing adversity or learning something new and applying it right away, even when it is uncomfortable.
We have all faced many challenges in the last year between COVID -19, social and political unrest, and the need to work and communicate in new ways. In the face of all of these challenges, we have seen tremendous growth, learning, and innovation as we navigate in a world that is continuing to evolve. We have also seen what happens when people are not able to grow or change. Or how, when there is low resilience, people can become stuck, walk away, or isolate themselves.
The good news is that Resilience is not something you have or don’t have - it is something you can learn. Anyone can develop the capacity to become more resilient.
We designed a Resilience Continuum that provides a framework for conversations around Resiliency. It enables a leader to identify where they are on the continuum and then determine where they want to be. It is also an excellent tool for leaders to use when they want to help team members increase their resilience capacity. Leaders we have worked with share that the Resilience Continuum allows them to approach these challenging situations with empathy.
Here’s the Continuum. If someone is acting or behaving in a way that is preventing them from working through a challenge or adverse situation, that behavior is reflective of low resilience. If a person meets the challenge head-on, working on learning to seek advice, or simply moving forward, their behavior is closer to high resilience.
The table below details the behaviors, thoughts, and actions that describe each phase. Please note: this is not about labeling a person; it identifies where someone is on a given challenge or situation based on their behaviors and actions.
Enjoys being comfortable
Little to no interest in learning something new
May be experiencing physical, mental, or emotional challenges
Workload is extremely demanding
Fearful of the future if there is not a roadmap
Appreciates comfort but willing to be uncomfortable
Willing to learn something new
Takes actions to manage well-being
Ability to manage workload
Looks forward to future and appreciates if there a roadmap
Connects with others for advice and guidance
Thrives in an environment where they can be uncomfortable
Seeks to learn something new and apply it right away
Is proactive in managing their well-being
Strives to lead self and others towards a future, even if there is no roadmap
Connects with others for advice and guidance frequently
As you look at the table above, ask yourself these questions:
Which behaviors most closely match the way I take action when faced with a challenge?
Which behaviors would I like to demonstrate more often?
What skills do I need to develop to get there?
What is getting in my way?
What actions can I take to get there? And by when?
We encourage you to have a conversation with your direct reports to learn more about their Resilience capacity and what you can do together to work towards high resilience.
Interested in learning more? Feel free to view our webinar on Building a Resilient Workforce or contact Kristin Derwinski to schedule a conversation.
There is so much to love about the ATD membership, but there are important changes coming to tailor benefits to what serves us best in today’s world. Members know that access to professional development and the latest content in the field are hugely important benefits of joining and renewing with ATD. Rather than limiting choice or having multiple a la carte options, ATD is rolling out a full library of content including hundreds of TD at Work guides and 99 micro courses. These changes also include enhancements to the website, a growing library of tools, checklists, and templates, and unlimited access to whitepapers and 10-minute case studies. ATD Membership gives you access to what you need, when you need it. Read more here: https://www.td.org/2021changes.
These changes mean an increase of rates starting April 1. However, you have the opportunity to lock in current rates if you renew by March 31. But do not delay: You can begin accessing new member benefits as early as March 1.
Now is a great time to review the benefits of a Power Membership as well, combining the local networking and industry access of SEWI-ATD and the content and exposure of the national branch.
From MRA Edge publication
Our friends at EARN (Employers Assistance Resource Network on Disability Inclusion) support employers in their efforts to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.
Check out these questions and answers that employers should know regarding important aspects of a disability-inclusive workspace.
A disability-inclusive workplace is an accessible workplace, covering not only physical accessibility, like wheelchair ramps, braille signage, and accessible restrooms, but also digital accessibility, where information and communication technology is available to all and compatible with assistive technology devices.
Accessibility also has an attitudinal dimension. The key is to ensure doors are open, literally and figuratively, to all qualified individuals. Accessible workplaces help everyone increase productivity, ensure a wider pool of talent can apply for, maintain, and advance in employment, and expand their potential customer base.
The biggest barrier to workplace accessibility is not architectural in nature, but attitudinal. Employees may have misconceptions about people with disabilities and the work they can do. Examples of attitudinal barriers include:
Employers can help break down these barriers by engaging employees in discussions about disability and providing training to change employees’ perspectives and increase understanding.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is an employer’s obligation to “provide access for an individual applicant to participate in the job application process, and for an individual employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her job, including access to a building, to the work site, to needed equipment, and to all facilities used by employees.” In addition to the building and work site, areas to which accessibility must be provided may include (but are not limited to):
Businesses that make modifications to improve workplace accessibility may be eligible for tax credits or deductions to help offset costs incurred. For more information see Tax Benefits for Businesses Who Have Employees with Disabilities.
When workplace technology is accessible, it presents opportunities for people with disabilities to get hired, or to excel in a position because they can perform their job duties with access to basic workplace tools. It is a barrier to employment to be without technology accessibility.
Taking steps to ensure all employees can access the technology they need to perform their jobs is a best practice and can impact a business’s bottom line.
Technology accessibility benefits include:
Visit EARN’s website for more information and educational resources, like toolkits and publications. EARN also offers the Dinah Cohen Training Center for Disability Employment & Inclusion for free webinars and trainings on a variety of topics, including the Inclusion@Work Framework for Building a Disability-Inclusive Organization.
If you’d like to stay up to date on upcoming events, developing news, and promising practices in the world of disability, diversity, and inclusion, you can subscribe to EARN’s newsletter.
By Lynell Meeth, Director Member Content MRA
With all the benefits that come from making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI ) a priority, some might wonder why we still need to make a business case. The plusses of a successful DEI strategy are hard to beat. Take a look at these compelling outcomes from a culture rich with DEI at work.
Commitment. Organizations with a strong DEI culture are more likely to attract and employ people with greater job satisfaction as well as higher levels of engagement and trust. According to ZipRecruiter’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Survey, 86 percent of job seekers say workplace diversity is an important factor when looking for a job.
Success. DEI can help the bottom line. A McKinsey & Company study found that organizations in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity on their leadership teams resulted in a 33 percent increase in profitability.
Innovation. A 2018 study by Harvard Business Review found that the most diverse companies also tended to be the most innovative. Employing people from all different backgrounds brings more brainstorming, ideas, and creativity.
Ready to dive into your organization’s DEI efforts? Check out these six steps to get started.
If your organization doesn’t have a vision statement around DEI, create one. It’s critical to have clarity around the benefits that are realized from investing in DEI initiatives—like widening your candidate pool for qualified talent, fostering a more creative and innovative workforce, and supporting employees who can contribute to their fullest potential within an inclusive environment.
From the C-suite to frontline employees, everyone needs to see and understand their part in the company’s DEI culture, and the top leaders must be supportive of DEI efforts. Leadership needs to set the tone and example, and all employees should understand how their behaviors contribute to inclusion.
Employers who assume they know what the challenges are run the risk of missing the mark. To establish a baseline of the current reality, employers need to hear directly from their employees. Ask and listen. This can be in the form of an assessment, like the Spectra Diversity Inclusion Assessment™, or setting up focus groups or listening sessions.
Employers need to identify if there are barriers that get in the way of the employment, opportunity, and inclusion of individuals from different backgrounds. Do any policies or practices need to be adjusted or tossed? Some to consider include:
It’s kind of like having your kids help make dinner. There’s a better chance they’ll actually eat it because they had a hand in making it. Similar concept here. If your employees are interested in starting a committee, resource group, book club, or community alliance, support their passion to get involved. Not only will they feel empowered and heard, they will be more engaged and then everyone benefits.
Tie metrics to your overall vision and what is important to your organization. Maybe you have fewer women in management or lack a disability-inclusive environment. Set goals to make that change, collect data, watch for (and remove) roadblocks, and hold people accountable until you are successful in turning it around.
A key to getting started with DEI efforts, especially in smaller organizations where there isn’t a dedicated position or team, is to remember that HR should be supportive, but should not own the outcomes of DEI. HR can assist with providing the foundation for change, influence decision makers, and foster the right environment, but ultimately the accountability for progress should come from the top.
Companies everywhere strive for profits, mastering their craft, and securing top talent, and detailed plans and strategies are used to get there. Why not put a strategic plan in place for DEI initiatives at your organization?
Be sure to visit the MRA website for more information and tools to help your company’s business imperatives around DEI.
Director, Member Content
By Nicole De Falco, Learning Strategist/Sr. ID Consultant, The CARA Group
Inclusion may not be rocket science, but it is human science. And, in today’s environment, it is non-negotiable. Inclusion is imperative for leaders to drive up innovation and drive out institutional racism. A Deloitte Insights article by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, “The diversity and inclusion revolution: Eight powerful truths,” reveals that organizations with inclusive cultures are eight times as likely to achieve better business outcomes and six times more likely to be innovative and agile.
Daniel Sanchez Reina, Senior Director Analyst for Gartner, in the article Diversity and Inclusion Build High-Performance Teams, notes that diversity and innovation are correlated, “but inclusion is the key to leveraging diversity.” And, leaders are the linchpins to inclusion. In the Deloitte Insights article, Bourke and Dillon highlight what they call the “power of a leader’s shadow.” Leadership behaviors can “drive up to 70 percentage points of difference between the proportion of employees who feel highly included and the proportion of those who do not.”
But, for many leaders, exactly how to be inclusive is elusive. In an HBR article, The Key to Inclusive Leadership, Juliet Bourke and Andrea Titus cite their research indicating “only one in three leaders holds an accurate view about their inclusive leadership capabilities.”
Every leader has the potential to be radically inclusive; creating a culture where people feel safe, valued, and a sense of belonging. Inclusive leadership is everyday actions done with eyes open and ears engaged. Inclusion happens when leaders know and treat each person like the unique and valuable human they are.
“Inclusion happens when leaders know and treat each person like the unique and valuable human they are.”
A truly inclusive culture begins with leaders with truly inclusive habits. Organizations can move the needle on inclusion by equipping leaders to act inclusively as part of their routine interactions with employees. Most people are just not aware of the biases that get in their way. It’s like being tripped up by invisible ghosts – you’re stumbling and just not sure why. This is where the human science comes into play.
Neuroscientist Beau Lotto in his book Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently teaches us that “Every decision you make in the future will remain grounded in history.” We draw on experiences to inform our actions and decisions today. How we treat others may be the result of perceptions formed by past events. Lotto’s research provides insight into how we can “use our brains to change our brains” by re-writing our past perceptions, so we make better decisions in the future.
The first step for leaders looking to act more inclusively is learning to surface, question, and recognize the impact of assumptions and biases on their behavior in certain situations or with particular people.
Seeing the implications of assumptions and biases kick starts an intrinsic drive; motivating leaders to ask questions like “what else might be true?” to replace unproductive perceptions with possibility thinking. They have formed a “new past” to reference when faced with these situations or groups.
With potentially limiting assumptions neutralized or replaced, leaders now need to get comfortable selecting and tailoring inclusive actions to fit their situations and the unique humans in their care.
Finally, leaders need methods and practice in the formation of habits to promote daily use of these inclusive intentional actions. To ensure habits stay ingrained, organizations are wise to design requiring environments rich with accountability and recognition for inclusive leadership.
Which brings us to the organization itself. Just as leaders desiring to behave inclusively bump into personal ghosts, organizations are haunted by the institutional ghosts of historic and systemic racism. In her Forbes post, Four Strategies For Moving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Belonging Beyond Lip Service, L’Wana Harris explains, “It’s your responsibility to reimagine and redesign your organization to create an environment where all of your employees can thrive. We must go beyond simple “inclusion” work and venture into the work that reforms and disrupts. Conduct an enterprise-wide audit for bias and discrimination.”
Organizations must identify and address the myriad causes of imbalance among employee groups. The key question to go after is, what are the business practices, systems, and processes tripping up the progress, engagement, and productivity of people of color, women, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented employee groups in our organization? Organizations with an inclusive culture spearheaded by inclusive leaders unlock the power of diversity to drive innovation needed for market success and for identifying and unseating inequitable business practices.
“The Diversity and Inclusion Revolution: Eight powerful truths by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, Deloitte Review, Issue 22
Diversity and Inclusion Build High Performance Teams, Gartner, IT Leadership, September 2019
Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently by Beau Lotto
By Genevieve Daniels, VP Finance
The SEWI-ATD Board recently approved our 2021 budget. Most learning functions think about budgets solely in terms of expenses, but SEWI-ATD also has to generate revenue to sustain our operations. So, our budgeting process is an exercise in strategic planning and forecasting as much as resource allocation.
Our chapter has a tradition of budgeting and spending carefully. I am proud that as a Board we were able to adjust our 2020 operating plan due to the health pandemic. While many non-profits suffered substantial losses this year, SEWI-ATD managed our expenses carefully in order to have a financially stable year. Those efforts put us in a great position for 2021, as we look at how to continue serving our members.
Because we anticipate that the pandemic will continue to impact the economy, we planned a conservative income estimate of approximately $42,000, which is very small for a non-profit of our size. You’ll see in the graphs below that our 2021 budget relies on three primary sources of revenue: membership dues, sponsorship, and programming income. Having three major revenue streams gives us flexibility in an uncertain business environment.
We matched our conversative approach to income with our expenses, focusing on where we need to put resources in order to provide great value to our members and the regional talent development community. In 2021, you can expect to see SEWI-ATD expand our programming, improve our communication, and strengthen partnerships with other organizations in our community. Our 2021 budget also keeps us on target to reach our goal of 100% operating reserves by 2025., ensuring that the organization is fiscally sustainable for the long term.
Gen Daniels, VP of Finance.
From the CARA group:
Transforming instructor-led training to virtual learning is not going away anytime soon. Read our infographic that highlights the seven steps to transform from ILT to vILT.
Written by Andy Marris, CPTD; Learning & Development Manager for MRA
We have heard the word pivot a lot since the onset of the pandemic. And while this word may be a bit overused, it’s incredibly fitting for our trainers here at MRA. What was once mainly in-person activities, our hands-on classroom learning has moved to predominately online instruction.
This new way of training comes with a new set of rules, which have been written along the way. Instructors have had to get creative, figuring out how to make the learning components virtually appealing. The good news is, it’s working!
Here are a few new ways we work when it comes to MRA’s virtual learning.
We want to see your face. The obvious one and biggest game-changer is making a worthwhile face-to-face experience. It is important for attendees to have their cameras on, which makes them more engaged and regular contributors in class. It also helps the trainers read body language and know when people have questions or are getting lost in a meeting by the expressions on their faces.
It really can feel like a class. Trainers have the ability to use the whiteboard, capture ideas in real-time and send participants to breakout rooms, which mimics what trainers do in a physical room. And it’s not only similar to the classroom experience, but the virtual platform can be more efficient for getting small groups to talk.
Knowing breaks are important. Every 35 minutes the class gets a quick break. Everyone turns off their cameras, takes their eyes off the screen, stretches, and does what they need to do. Zoom fatigue is a real thing and breaks help learners refocus, reenergize, and get back to it.
The importance of a tech pre-meeting. Attendees are strongly encouraged to show up ten to 15 minutes before a virtual training session begins. This time is spent making sure everyone’s technology is working and to answer any questions on how to use the tools. COVID-19 has brought with it lots of firsts, and for many people virtual meetings are one of them. Knowing their technology is working before class begins eases participants’ minds, allowing them to focus on learning.
Learning gets creative. There are some things that cannot be replicated virtually—activities like touching materials, putting together a group puzzle, and shooting baskets blindfolded. MRA trainers get creative to simulate these learning points in a new way.
One new activity is a video game that allows people to be coached while shooting virtual baskets. Another is having participants talk through the process of making a peanut butter sandwich with the trainer following the verbal instructions. When the message isn’t clear enough the trainer may do the wrong thing. It’s a great way to watch someone try to make something simple and realize how the message needs to be very specific to get the right behaviors, highlighting the litany of ways people can misinterpret a message.
Training will continue moving forward and MRA is finding ways to make it happen. Interested in learning how to make it work for your organization? Check out our website for our virtual (and in-person) training options that are available to you, or call Andy Marris at 262.696.3409 to talk about a training plan for your company.
To read more blog posts from MRA, please access the MRA Edge publication.
We are excited to welcome three new board members to fill vacancies on the SEWI-ATD board.
Thanks for all three for volunteering to serve the chapter!