As HR pros well know, diversity does have its challenges. In a study of workplace data, MIT economist Sara Ellison found that similar groups of people often enjoy stronger camaraderie; their ability to relate to each other can make it easier to establish “cooperation, trust, and enjoyment of the workplace.”However, Ellison also observed that being in sync didn’t help groups perform better. “A baseball team entirely composed of catchers could have high esprit de corps…but it would not perform very well on the field,” she said.
Most Americans are not aware, for example, that in 1976 the Supreme Court upheld the right of employers to regulate their workers’ facial hair. The justices recognized that mustaches and beards carried social significance that might undermine the esprit de corps in police departments, corrode discipline in schools, and threaten businesses’ bottom line. Walt Disney banned facial hair on amusement park workers until 2012, and McDonald’s still tolerates beards only for religious reasons.
The panelists were diverse: two African American senior executives and two white members of Lilly’s executive committee, the company’s highest executive body. The questions were candid. While the panelists had been prepared for a serious conversation, no one really knew where it would lead. Nor had anyone foreseen the esprit de corps that would emerge from an honest and respectful conversation on race in the workplace. We all believed, however, that such a conversation would integrate rather than divide the workforce, providing oxygen for other important discussions.
There was a clear recognition that for African Americans in particular, experiences with racial trauma are difficult to divorce from experiences of work or any other part of life. Further, racial traumas may occur in the normal activities of workplace interactions through inequities, microaggressions and other forms of bias.
“The Indian Navy believes that training onboard these ships is the best method of instilling among the trainees the indefinable sea-sense and respect for elements of nature, which are inseparable from safe and successful seafaring,” says Capt Sharma.Sail training also serves to impart the time-tested values of courage, camaraderie, endurance and esprit-de-corps among the budding naval officers.
I have an esprit de corps with many, many women based on, well, our corps. We cheer each other on toward enjoying health, vigor and cake, not necessarily in that order. My tribe of women is the loud, funny and smart one.