Ask This Simple Question at Work: How Are You?
How focusing on the employee experience connects their reality to a company’s commitment to inclusivity.
As part of PRIDE month, I was asked to write about inclusiveness at our company and generally. To start, one of the great pleasures of working at JPMorgan Chase is the incredible people we work with every day. With this comes a responsibility, namely, to make sure that all the people we work with feel entirely welcome — that they can be true to themselves walking the hallways, in lunch rooms or in any situation.
As a gay woman, I’m keenly aware of the long road we are on toward inclusion, where diversity is celebrated rather than shunned. I am also aware of how reality can fall short of well-intended aspirations. But that is something that has always impressed me about our company — we are not solely concerned with appearance or ideals, we’re concerned with the actual experiences of our employees.
So, in my view it is “table stakes” for companies to ensure that their commitment to inclusivity reaches beyond its policies. Here at JPMorgan Chase, we put a lot of effort into the resources we offer to help employees connect and feel connected. Our business resource groups, like our LGBT networking group PRIDE, provides networking and celebratory events for our LGBT employees. We are currently in the midst of latest PRIDE month, a time when we, as a company, celebrate our successes in promoting an accepting culture.
But employers and managers need to go beyond activities to individuals. At the firm, we are always looking for ways to ask our 250,000 employees, ‘how are you?’ We have listening posts across our company (including a comment box on the internal home page if you want to send me a message), we have pulse and employee opinion surveys, and focus groups. And, we act on what we hear. This is critical because inclusiveness is not about the number of activities a company commits to — it is about life at the firm for each of us and the ability to bring our full selves to work.
At JPMorgan Chase, I am proud of what we do - - the activities we sponsor and our efforts to create a culture and a community where no one ever has to compromise who they are. I encourage other companies to keep learning and improving along with us. Not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because businesses can be stronger when all employees can comfortably bring their authentic selves to work each day.
About the Author:
Stacey Friedman is Executive Vice President and General Counsel for JPMorgan Chase & Co. She also serves as a member of the firm's Operating Committee.