September 10, 2018 12:30:00 PM EDT

Whole Person Employment Creates Opportunities for Women

 

Judy Johnson, Ph. D., believes that Whole Person Employment and authentic self are helping to pave the way for gender parity in the workforce. Johnson is the vice president and director of operational effectiveness practice at Aspirant. She spoke this past Friday, Sept 7th at a Halfway to International Women’s Day event. The event was put on by Faros Properties at Nova Place.

Johnson said her favorite part about this event was getting to know the other women involved. “They are amazing and dynamic women and it was great to get to meet them and be a part of this with event them,” she said.

Johnson was one of three key speakers who spoke to various concerns and inspirations regarding gender parity. “The event was really energizing and uplifting,” Johnson said. “It was great to talk about what women can do to support one another and be there for one another.”

Her focus was on whole person employment and the authentic self. Johnson is proud to work at a company that she believes excels at fostering and encouraging both of these things. She believes Aspirant is able to move quickly, and be transparent and open with their work, adding that they share news of what’s happening in the company with their employees and include them on decisions.

“Looking at benefits packaging in the new year is very transparent. We get ideas from employees and inform them well in advance of making any decisions,” said Johnson.

A lot of the work Johnson does is with leadership teams and companies to help make their organization a better place to work. The Whole Person Employment trend is growing, and she believes it opens a space for women to raise up issues that have traditionally been seen as “women’s” issues, such as  Family Medical Leave, performance reviews and flexibility in working hours, which are now issues on the table for all employees.

Aspirant has done research regarding work-life balance and recently found that 85% of Human Resource leaders believe that work-life balance will become enmeshed together over the next 10 years. Basically, it will become more important for people to love what they do, as well as who they do it for.

However, the same study found that only 35% of employees say they are happy with their current job. Unhappy employees are looking elsewhere, are not fully engaged, and result in missed opportunities for companies.

Compensation is often seen as the most important part of a job, but that is changing. Employees rarely leave a job for pay, but, instead, to find a happier and more enjoyable work life. There is always a threshold of pay someone is willing to accept, but Johnson believes that good pay does not counteract a negative work environment.

Discussion of these types of issues has positive impact to women. “It opens doors for women to have conversations that in the past they were afraid would be seen as self-indulgence, such as maternity leave” said Johnson.

This was once seen as a “woman’s” issue, but is now an employment standard. With Whole Person Employment, these things are now openly discussed, and expressions of concerns are encouraged. “At Aspirant, we include employees in the decision-making process. They can ask questions without ever feeling like they are stepping out of place.”

Ebony McQueen-Harris, founder and principal consultant of Levels Creative Empowerment and Consulting Group, also spoke at the event. Johnson said she found her talk extremely encouraging. “One of the things Ebony said was: ‘What are you doing to stand in the gap?’ Stand shoulder to shoulder with other women around you and help them.”

Johnson believed this  was a good thing to think about, and says you should trust yourself and your authentic voice, and use it to speak up for other women. “Women should not be afraid to step in and take action for each other, in big and small ways.”

“Ebony gave a really powerful example of taking an opportunity to support one another,” Johnson said. McQueen-Harris discussed a recent meeting where she  and two other African American women were in a meeting of approximately 40 people. The three women were explaining some of the challenges they’ve experienced.  No one else contributed to the conversation.

Afterward, someone approached them and said they were impressed by  her ability to “hold her own,” and did not feel the need to step in for o support. McQueen-Harris said she would have loved for someone  in the room to step up and offer support to the points they were trying to make.

“We often expect someone else to stand up, so feel less obligated to take action ourselves. We need to step up, to stand in that gap, as Ebony puts it, and support other women and minorities,” said Johnson.

Clearly, Johnson was just as encouraged by the other speakers and encourages anyone who can to get involved and attend  similar events in the future. It’s expected that they will have something planned for International Woman’s Day as well, and we will make sure to tell you.

“I would love to go to another event that is as energizing and gives me a chance to network and partner with the same – or even a broader group of amazing women!” Johnson said.

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Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson

Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.