Diversity Means More: Valuing individuality, promoting inclusivity

October 12, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Strategy & Leadership,
Another submission from an anonymous Michigan Medicine employee.

“[Diversity, equity and inclusion means] bringing together people with different backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, etc. and all learning from each other. We are stronger together.” — A submission from an anonymous employee at Michigan Medicine

“[DEI involves] both looking for others or opportunities to celebrate and get to know others who are from different backgrounds/orientations. There is greater diversity in this hospital system than in Michigan, but it is mostly stratified diversity.” — A submission from an anonymous employee at Michigan Medicine

“[DEI means] supporting and valuing all the differences that make us who we are. Recognizing that we have all had different life experiences and that many of our life experiences are significantly impacted by structural racism, inequities, and privilege.” — A submission from an anonymous employee at Michigan Medicine

These submissions — and many others — reflect the voices of those who work, learn and heal at Michigan Medicine and their view of diversity, equity and inclusion at Michigan Medicine. Clearly, a prominent theme is the importance of inclusion and coming together, especially during these uncertain times when people may feel isolated or divided.

Take action: Maintaining inclusivity during isolation

The pandemic has changed the way we work and live; many are working from home, maintaining social distancing and limiting or altogether avoiding in-person experiences. Being inclusive and cultivating a workplace environment that gives a sense of belonging can be incredibly difficult.

At the same time, inclusion is and will remain critical to maintaining wellness and diversity in the workplace — and was recently adopted as one of Michigan Medicine’s core values.

Here are a few tips on how you can maintain belonging and inclusivity virtually:

Listen and respond intentionally

Workplace dynamics, household needs and available resources vary from person to person. Creating a working environment where every member feels heard is imperative. Allow, and ask for transparency when determining what each person needs. Validate colleague’s concerns, both work-related and non-work related, and use purposeful word choices when working toward a solution.

Speak up

We have all heard the phrase “If you need help with anything, just let me know.” The reality is, asking for help in the workplace can be incredibly difficult. However, everyone is experiencing change and navigating new normals. It is important to be realistic, and partner with your colleagues on larger projects when possible.

Provide informal recognition

Working remotely has changed the dynamics of informal recognition. Pre-COVID-19, you may have congratulated a colleague on the success of a project in passing or while getting coffee. Now, giving kudos must take a more intentional approach. Huddles and unit meetings are a great place to highlight individuals, and promote informal recognition.

Work hard, play hard

Create social experiences that allow colleagues to engage and talk about life outside of work. Virtual trivia, bingo, coffee and happy hours are all great ways to have fun and get involved. These activities can build a sense of belonging and generate authentic interpersonal conversations among the team. 

Join a Michigan Medicine Resource Group

These groups are a mechanism for feedback to Michigan Medicine leadership on how to foster inclusion and collaboration. Resource group membership is open to all Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, students, friends and allies. Group membership is voluntary and the member-led group catalyzes efforts to drive innovation and make workplace culture more inclusive, engaged, productive and aligned to support strategic goals.

For information on joining all resource groups at Michigan Medicine, email:

Disability: abilitymedicine@umich.edu

LGBTQ+: MEDLGBTQResource-requests@umich.edu

Spirituality: MEDReligionandSpiritualityResource@umich.edu

Middle Eastern (meERG): contactmeERG@umich.edu

Veterans: veteransresourcegroup@umich.edu

Working Families: workingfamilies@umich.edu

Black Voices: blackvoices@umich.edu

Diversity Means More submissions are open to all, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. All submissions are and will remain anonymous, and your unedited soundbites will be shared broadly across social media and digital platforms. Experiences and stories will also be shared regularly in Headlines as a part of the “Diversity Means More” series.

At Michigan Medicine, we are committed to change, and true change starts with awareness and understanding.

Click here to submit your stories, experience, thoughts and sentiments.

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