I must admit that I don’t hear the term “tribal knowledge” very often. So I did the same as the reader and searched the internet for it. Some articles said it was not offensive, as it wasn’t associated with any particular tribe of people, as well as articles that said it was offensive as it was disrespectful to tribes.
I cannot tell someone what to be offended. This is what I believe makes this situation so difficult. For some insight, I reached out and asked a colleague. Anthony Paradiso SHRMCP is a Human Resources Business Partner with Industrial U.I. Services. He is also the founder of ALLThingzAP, which specializes in diversity and inclusion. His blog is a frequent read of mine. He encourages people to be authentic.
I believe in having difficult, uncomfortable conversations. It is important to accept being uncomfortable. Employees should be free to express their feelings about a term. These conversations should be held in a private environment. Both employees must listen attentively, use a positive tone, and have good energy. They should also discuss and resolve disagreements, agree to follow up on their promises, and build on previous successes.
It is recommended that anyone who uses a term in the workplace that they aren’t familiar with should look it up and talk to human resources. Talk to an inclusion and diversity officer, diversity council representative, and employee resource groups.
Open communication leads to a more engaged workforce empowered by one another and the organization’s mission.
These situations are not easy to handle. Employees need to be guided by policies and protocols. This includes anticipating employee concerns, ensuring that organizations measure potential solutions, and ensuring that company values are maintained.
Even though there aren’t any articles to support your feelings, that doesn’t make the term offensive. The world is constantly changing, and it’s not always possible to find an article about them.
It is important to have tough conversations. Let employees talk about a term that offends them if they are offended. We need to have difficult conversations, both professionally and personally.
It is time to create a protocol and policy for your organization. Employees unhappy about a term should be able to take the appropriate steps.
The above question can be handled in several ways. The first is for the employee to talk directly with their manager. The manager will hopefully understand. There is a chance that the manager won’t understand. A neutral third party, such as human resources officers or diversity and inclusion (D&I), can help the manager understand.
Some people oppose the term “tribe”, and I have seen this discussion on social media. I consider them individuals and do not use the term “tribe”. You can use the term ‘tribe’ instead of “tribe”. It’s that simple.
This is easy to answer. There is a reason an employee feels that a word is inappropriate. An organization should not try to change the feelings of an employee. It starts with education, and it continues with having discussions. An organization is responsible for educating its employees about inclusion, diversity and equity. Educate employees on the improper use of the term “tribe”. After educating, discuss. Listening is the key. Let’s have these difficult conversations.
It is also worth noting that an hour-long D&I consultant can be hired to teach an organization about unconscious bias, sensitivity, and the importance of inclusion. This is not an option. Training is not enough for one hour. It takes time to continue education about inclusion, diversity and equity. This is worth the effort and dedication. Employees who feel included and satisfied doing the right thing will be the result.
Transparency is essential. Employers should encourage employees to speak up if they are uncomfortable with a term. Forbes states that people produce their best work when tensions can be dissipated, and problems are addressed quickly and with a rational and transparent approach.
Employees who say a word or phrase is offensive are likely to have a valid reason. Trust the employee.
Also, ask employees to complete confidential surveys. It is better to be proactive than reactive. A diversity council and employee resource group should be established in every organization.
It isn’t difficult, I’ll admit. I will listen to employees who express discomfort with certain terms. I do so because they respect me as an individual. Respect and empathy are the keys to it all.