What Does An Inclusive Workplace Look Like?
As the President and Chief Executive Officer of Yonkers, N.Y.-based Greyston Foundation, Joe Kenner heads up an organization that has not only, through its Greyston Bakery, practiced Open Hiring for nearly 40 years, it has also adopted and been a foremost advocate for inclusive employment hiring practices for nearly a quarter of a century.
Kenner is often asked to share his expertise on how companies can build an inclusive workplace, and he is happy to impart the benefits of inclusive employment as he has experienced and observed it over the years. “Starting with the word ‘inclusive,” it’s all about being fair and equitable,” says Kenner. “It means supporting people by allowing for employment opportunities for everyone to bring their full selves to the workplace and make a meaningful contribution to the mission, vision and strategy of the organization.”
We believe that everyone has something to contribute. How do we unlock that potential is the question?
What Does Inclusive Employment Include?
“For us it starts with hiring, being aware of diversity and inclusion, but it does not end there,” says Kenner. “We want to offer the appropriate training and supportive services that allow employed individuals to be successful, both professionally and personally, because we believe that is what creates a win-win scenario for the person we’re hiring and for us.”
When asked what inclusive employment does not include, Kenner emphasizes that companies’ hiring practices cannot include what could be considered biases – that is, that only individuals with a certain degree, or very particular work experiences, can become eligible for given job opportunities. “There are exceptions, of course,” says Kenner. “You can’t hire people to be computer programmers who have never worked with computers. But for a good swath of employment opportunities, biases shouldn’t be part of the hiring equation, particularly for those entry hire positions where you can learn the job on the job. For these positions all that should be required is the resolve to come to work, learn and do a great job. Look at what the individual’s potential is, what their desire to achieve is, not what they don’t have on their resume.”