Second Quarter 2019


Virtual Reality

The Power of Empathy

Jeannie Mok,
President/CEO & Perspective Shifter of
Omni Alliance, LLC

Jeannie is on a mission to help leaders navigate the technical world of immersive experiences in virtual reality to help build fundamentally adept and honest workplaces where each person actively engages in their own awareness, understanding, and appreciation of diversity & inclusion. Jeannie is inspired with educating the multi-generational workforce to create a more robust workplace. Her motto, “Change Your Perspective Transform the World” rings true in everyone she meets.

You hear this all the time…walk a mile in my shoes. What if you could??

 VIRTUAL REALITY is  dynamic and ubiquitous. It’s simply sharing experiences in an interactive world much like what you are experiencing now. It allows you to immerse yourself in an experience & feel what it’s really like to walk in someone else’s shoes, to hopefully feel what they feel, and maybe to get the ‘ah-ha’ moment when you can understand & empathize with them. Using modeling of a real environment, we can simulate an experience through learning modalities such as auditory, visual, & kinesthetic, but also cognitive & behavioral. Let me give you an example. You’re a security officer patrolling your school campus at 2 am. A young man is walking towards you. You perceive him walking unsteadily, hands in a fluttering motion in front of him, and he’s softly grunting. You greet him “Hello”, but he doesn’t greet you back & walks past you. You think it’s rude & become suspicious. You touch his shoulder and say “Hello” louder. He starts screaming & waving his hands wildly in front of himself. Not understanding what’s happening, you move your hand instinctively to your taser/gun. Why? Is he harming you? Are you afraid? Of what?

This is a classic example of how virtual reality may be of assistance. Virtual reality can have a compounded affect that may assist you to recognize different behaviors & understand multiple versions of a given situation. In this example, the young man has a disability & communicates differently than ‘normal’ people. How powerful would it be to walk in this young man’s or the security officer’s shoes to understand the situation from their perspectives? You can see their fear or no fear, the misread interpretation of a gesture or body movement, how the facial expressions create tension or relay fear, or help you to understand why the officer reached for his taser/gun.

We are only at the tip of the iceberg using virtual reality. In The Diversity Iceberg metaphor, above the waterline reflects the diversity that we are traditionally familiar with, and below the waterline is the diversity that we may be open to receiving. The possibilities are endless with the experiences we can create to understand, possibly accept, and value the differences of others no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, educational differences, personalities, sexual orientation, skill sets, and so much more! As of late, we are forging ahead with our comprehension of diversity & its benefits, but what if diversity training actually causes more conflict. As a company grows in its understanding of diversity, we want the employees to as well. What we don’t want to do is force it upon them & require them to assimilate. Empathy is a choice. It’s respectfully identifying with the person in front of you. Virtual reality is only a vehicle to immersive you in a world to experience a reality with infinite possibilities, to see what it’s like in someone else’s shoes. Use it for the value it can bring to your organization. Change your perspective, transform the world. Let’s change the narrative.

A great way for businesses to demonstrate their support for the LGBTQ community is by signing onto 
Ohio Business Competes

Ohio Business Competes is a no-cost, nonpartisan coalition of businesses that support LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies at the state level in order to attract the best talent, retain hard-working employees, and promote full participation in the workplace.
Over 570 businesses have joined Ohio Business Competes, including AT&T, KeyBank, Cardinal Health, General Electric, and Progressive, and the list keeps growing every week. Joining is a wonderful way to indicate your company’s commitment to LGBTQ inclusion and essentially functions as free advertising to LGBTQ and ally consumers that often check the Ohio Business Competes website to gauge a company’s level of support.

Joining the coalition is as easy as entering your company’s information and uploading your logo here. If you have any questions about Ohio Business Competes, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


has developed a new Business-to-Business Social Enterprise Buying guide in response to local companies that wish 
to use purchases from local social enterprises to meet part of their Diversity & Inclusion or Sustainability goals. Every social enterprise in this Guide creates social impact with the revenues from your purchase. 


In this guide each social enterprise is identified by which United Nations Sustainable Development Goal is addressed by its social impact. More specific information on many social enterprises’ social impact can be found by visiting our online Marketplace. If you are responsible for your company’s Diversity & Inclusion or Sustainability purchasing program, you can use purchases from the social enterprises in this 
guide to meet your goals. By choosing to do business with local social enterprises, you are also helping to strengthen our community and provide hope to those that are less fortunate.


Spark Sustainable Cultural Transformation

Jeanetta Darno  

CEO & Founder of Strategic HR Advisors and the 2019 Inclusive Leadership Academy


Photograph by Shelly Fisher
Before you (re) launch your diversity and inclusion strategy, focus on 4 things to spark sustainable cultural transformation.

Executive ALIGNMENT matters 

How you define diversity matters.  How you discuss it and how your organization embraces it matters even more.  When working with clients, we look for alignment on how their executive team aligns on diversity.  Why?  Part of the challenge with diversity and inclusion initiatives and strategies is that some organizations aren’t aligned on how they view diversity nor comfortable communicating a clear definition of diversity. It’s difficult making progress when there isn’t a clear definition or view of what you’re focusing on. As simple as that sounds getting leaders aligned via their head (how they think about it), heart (how they feel about it) and hands (how their actions reflect their commitment) isn’t always simple. 

Provide CLARITY 

Why does diversity and inclusion matter for your organization? If you’re missing out on some aspects of diversity that will drive business success, then develop a strong why (business case).  A good resource is the latest McKinsey study of diversity in the workplace, Delivering through diversity, which reaffirms the global relevance of the link between diversity—defined as a greater proportion of women and a more mixed ethnic and cultural composition in the leadership of large companies—and company financial outperformance. Once you have your relevant business case, consistently communicate and be sure that all levels in your organizations understand the end goal, the why behind it and their part in achieving it.


Determine what short and long-term success looks like for your organization.  What’s the most effective pace of change?  How you’ll measure that change?  For some clients, the goal is increased awareness and dialogue about diversity over the next couple of years.  For other clients, we collaborate to create a dashboard measuring progress in areas such as associate and customer engagement, recruiting efforts, and talent management metrics.  
Empower everyone to showcase and celebrate all success no matter how big or small toward the goals.  Don’t wait for an annual meeting to celebrate or provide updates. Encourage celebration monthly, daily even hourly. You cannot educate and communicate about this once a year and expect sustainable change.


Educate, empower and encourage leaders and associates to make the right decisions toward achieving your goals. Every day we make decisions based on a personal set of assumptions that are guided by our “gut instinct”.  Understanding the why and how of those assumptions — and how to manage them — can result in more effective and inclusive teams.  For example, is your view or the hiring manager’s view of the ideal candidate affected by preferences rather than today’s relevant qualifications and competencies needed to be successful in a position.  Perhaps the job description, policies and even succession planning process are based on preferences. 
Are you interested in uncovering some of your biases?  A good place to start is with the Harvard Implicit Association Tests on topics including age, gender, sexuality and disability.  One of the keys is to educate associates and leaders on how to leverage these differences for business success. 
To learn more about Strategic HR Advisors or their upcoming 2019 Inclusive leadership Academy visit… use HRACO to receive a a 30% discount until 8/1/2019.

First Survey of Age-Friendly Employment

Mi Sun Choi, MSW, PhD

The Ohio State University College of Social Work 
Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County and Employment For Seniors is partnering with The Ohio State University to conduct the first survey of age-friendly employment in our community. Thank you in advance for your willingness to assist us in this research endeavor – “Human Resource Professionals’ Perceptions of Age-Friendly Employment.”    

The purpose of this study is to identify the concept of age-friendly employment by developing a new measurement. The changes to our economy and the composition of the workforce have created a great need for all employers to manage their aging workforce. Hence, it is important we identify ways to develop effective and efficient employment strategies to capitalize on older adults’ untapped skills and knowledge. Besides exposing the benefits of tapping into these skills, we believe this research will enable older adults to continue their years of productive work. It will also provide employers theory- and evidence-based age-management strategies to hire qualified older adult job seekers and to retain skilled workers.

To begin the research process, we established a focus group of human resources professionals, with whom we discussed the concepts of age-friendly employment and issues relating to recruitment and employment in today’s economic environment. Next, we consulted a panel of experts to develop and review a survey tool to create a scale on age-friendly employment. We are now in the evaluation phase through a final survey to validate the developed scale.

We value your experience and opinions on this topic and would kindly ask for your assistance, so we can achieve a comprehensive understanding of your perceptions and opinions on this important project. Your participation will be critical to the understanding of age-friendly employment; the development of practices and programs to enhance opportunities for both seniors and employers; and the creation of resources and tools for recruiting teams. We will provide a brief report of the findings for employers, HR professionals, and researchers through journal articles and social media.  

The survey consists of four sections: 

    Information about your organization: its type, industry, size, and location
    Age-friendly employment: age-related HR practices and policies for older workers’ retention and hiring
(five-sub categories: accommodation, development, maintenance, utilization, and inclusion)
    Human resource management in your organization: average age, tenure, and retirement age of employees; age proportion; retiree proportion; and full-time proportion of employees
    Your information: age, gender, education, tenure, position, and job satisfaction

Thank you again for your consideration of our research project and participation in this important survey.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail  
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