Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Technical experts often earn promotions into team leadership roles based on their technical skills, without receiving training on the communication skills necessary to effectively lead diverse teams and nurture a healthy organizational culture.

Angie Pastorek, Ph.D., program manager and faculty member for the Professional Workplace Communication Graduate Certificate and master’s degree, expressed this point during the “Improving Your Cultural IQ: Recognizing the Power of Inclusive Communication” event early this fall.

“In addition to race, gender and age-related bias issues in the workplace, leaders and managers have to take organizational pressures into account,” Pastorek said. “Leaders must be willing to step into deeper conversations about everyday diversity and inclusion issues with their teams.”

Pastorek’s one-hour presentation revealed research-backed strategies for helping teams recognize, plan for and engage with a wide variety of intercultural communication challenges. She addressed overarching social, workplace and cultural issues in the modern workforce and how to address them in healthy, affirming ways that strengthen an organization.

Pastorek and other KUEC faculty members deliver this kind of training to local employers in on-site courses through the Knowledge Now speakers’ bureau. Area professionals also may pursue the four-course Professional Workplace Communication Certificate at the KU Edwards Campus. These four courses – all supported by JCERT funding – also apply toward the KU master’s degree in organizational communication.

“This certificate helps professionals at all levels develop the communication competencies necessary to effectively build inclusive teams and lead diverse organizations within today’s increasingly complex, globalized business environment,” Pastorek said.