By Captain LaPonda J. Fitchpatrick, SHRM-SCP, DEI, IDI®, ASC, ACE
Historical, geographic, economic, and leadership experiences define the cultural identity of an organization. Whether public or private, organizations do not operate in isolation, rather, they are constantly interacting with outside entities within socially acceptable norms that are constantly changing in an increasingly diverse, interconnected, and interdependent landscape. Airports are not immune!
Aviation supports this interconnectedness through the movement of people and goods around the world. Every airport and its supporting systems have an outsized impact on customer service, airport facilities, and security system utilization as well as employee engagement. Understanding how to navigate this evolving landscape and developing aviation related services to meet a diverse community requires a critical lens of equity, diversity, inclusiveness, and a culture of thoughtfulness, EDICT©.
Norms within the workplace and concurrently within the airport environment such as behavior, race of employees or passengers, dress, gender role expectations and ethnic expressions were traditionally based on the idea of the nuclear family with the father as the patriarch within the home and at work. Males were also the predominant demographic that most airports and airlines catered to, especially as it related to business travel and needs.
Consequently, for most of the 20th century conformity within the workplace, and, to a certain extent, in public spaces was the standard. We now see ever increasing exhibitions and displays of individuality and cultural diversity within previously homogeneous work groups, in public settings, and airline customers. Add to this the rapidly increasing technological environment that requires continual innovation and creativity to remain relevant, even a local airport or company must think about their global image. Implementing EDICT© is a necessary business imperative and strategy to stay competitive.
The way we hired (locally), and the people we will hire in the future (globally) requires that airports and the companies they use for services that want to be successful change the way they do business! The competition for workers will require a differentiator to entice and retain the best and the brightest talent; this is also true of an airport's customers. Company culture and how it is expressed in the provision of services is that differentiator.
Attracting and retaining the best and the brightest employees while providing quality service to your diverse customers, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, country of origin, religion, race, or other group membership are critical to the continued success of any company or airport. Focusing on a company's and an airport’s culture, which will become the greatest value-add or the biggest business killer as we move from a manufacturing economy to one that focuses on personal services and technology, is a part of EDICT©.
It starts with creating a corporate culture where employees can bring their whole selves, backgrounds, and experiences to the organization where the best and brightest talent will want to work.
The old “mirror approach” to management - only seeking ideas, employees, and reviews from those that look most like us - is not a solid and sustainable business practice in our ever-expanding global society. Seeking ideas only from a limited number of people will inevitably cause management, the airport, and/or company to lose support and faith not only from its customers and business partners, but from its employees as well.
Instilling the core values of EDICT© supports a sense of belong and will help keep the aviation business on track and focused to ensure everyone that walks through an airport’s doors is considered and their individual needs met. Diversity, inclusion, empowerment, company culture, sense of belonging and fair and equitable treatment should be continuously practiced throughout all levels of an aviation-focused organization to create better and more welcoming terminals, security systems, and amenities for a diverse populace that is expecting it!
Airport customers and workforce are no longer just their hair, their skin, gender, or their country of origin. They bring their whole selves into the aviation environment. They expect – no they demand – that their individual needs are met. Operating from a foundation of EDICT© allows for those needs to be continuously met.
For more information on EDICT©, leave a message on our website @ www.trainingfortherealworld.com.