The Shape of #WorkHuman

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Copyright Fox Searchlight

Two weeks ago, "The Shape of Water" earned the Best Picture win at the Academy Awards.  Set in a high security government lab in the 1960s, this literal fish out of water tale tells the unique story of a mute woman who falls in love with an amphibian creature.

So, what does it have to do with the WorkHuman conference taking place in April? 

First, the protagonists are essentially outsiders.  Elisa, a cleaning woman is mute. Her next door neighbor, Giles, is a struggling advertising illustrator who is gay. Her best friend at work, Zelda, is black.  And, of course, there is the amphibian man.  In the 1960s, let alone today, all were living outside the "norm."

Yet, many of when welcomed into the workplace, can still feel like outsiders as well.  Companies love to espouse the notion of inclusion.  But, ask 10 people at your organization what inclusion means at that place of work, and you, more than likely, will get 10 different answers.  As Joe Gerstandt says, when you talk about about inclusion, what are you including people in? 

WorkHuman aims to improve the workplace experience. Through sessions such as Donna Kimmel's "Leveraging the Power of Human Differences," and Kim Christfort's "Embracing Cognitive Diversity," diversity and inclusion will not be just an empty gesture.

Second, "The Shape of Water" is also a story of workplace harassment.  While one would think of the amphibian man has the monster, the true villain is the Director of the facility, Michael Strickland.  The first time Elisa and Zelda meet Strickland, it is in the men's bathroom, where they are cleaning.  He doesn't ask them to leave, and begins to urinate in front of them. He continues to assert his dominance by beating the amphibian man with a rod, and the sexual undertones continue to grow in his relationship with Zelda, including locking the office door with her and him inside.  This is all the more pronounced as she literally has no voice.

This makes the WorkHuman #MeToo panel discussion with Ashley Judd, Tarana Burke, and Ronan Farrow, as well as the keynote session with Salma Hayek Pinault, all that more critical.

In addition, with track sessions on crowdsourcing, humanizing the employer brand, the business case for social recognition, and your whole self, Workhuman is the can't miss HR event of 2018. 

It's not too late to sign up. Get $100 off the registration fee by using the code WH18INF-MST.

Hope to see you in Austin.


 

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