We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Karla Richardson. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Karla below.
Alright, Karla thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What do you think Corporate America gets wrong in your industry?
Equity, inclusion and equal opportunity issues continuously arise in the workplace. Structural, institutional and systemic inequities result in a lack of fairness and diversity in nearly every aspect of American society. Housing and education are the areas that generally come to mind. However, in the workplace, there are structural, institutional and systemic inequities that adversely affect the job security, career development and earning potential of minority group members.
U. S. Employers still don’t do enough to ensure that the workplace and its culture are free from discrimination, harassment, hostility and retaliation. Although many organizations now have ‘diversity and inclusion’ language in their mission or value statements, instead of protecting employees, they continue to employ and reward bad bosses and enable bad practices.
Generally, organizations have leveraged HR to protect the organization and its management. The more balanced approach, is for U. S. Employers to leverage HR to protect employees, particularly minority employees, from subjection to discriminatory, harassing, hostile and retaliatory work environments. Ensuring that employee rights and interests are protected, in alignment with organizational goals, is the ‘win-win’ workplace scenario. This balance mitigates the risk of U. S. Employers violating Title VII (federal law that protects minority workers) and being sued; while at the same time, ensuring that the workplace and culture are equitable and inclusive, which translates to productivity and profits for the organization.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
I am a native Detroiter and experienced the times when Detroit was home to the ‘Big 3’ auto manufacturers that employed thousands of unionized workers and where many auto-related small businesses thrived. My Father owned a small manufacturing plant that supplied automotive parts to General Motors. He worked hard and all the time. So for me, ‘working class’ and ‘small business’ are not simply societal monikers, they are the stock from which I was born and bread.
My work-life began early. In high school, as part of career-prep, I worked a few hours after school in an office supply store. After high school, I worked as an Assistant, in the HR Department of a corporate law firm, and went to college at night. I earned a degree in English in 2002. An English degree was foundational to my graduate studies – I knew I’d be reading and writing a lot more in grad school! I decided to pursue a graduate degree because of my HR work with the law firm and at the time, had a growing interest in employment law. In 2007, I graduated with an Master of Science Degree in Human Resources Administration.
In 2008 our family moved to Houston, TX and in 2015, I earned both the SHRM and PHR Certifications. Most recently, I became a Certified Leadership Coach in 2020.
In Texas, there are fewer protections and less advocacy for employee rights. For instance, Texas is the only state where employers are not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect workers who are injured on the job. I have observed others’ and experienced for myself, discriminatory and retaliatory actions taken against everyday, working people. Over the years, I have been sought out by family and friends to educate them about their employee rights and to assist them with filing EEOC charges as well as submitting appeals to protest denied Unemployment Insurance claims. Soon, those who I assisted began referring their family and friends.
In May of 2020, with the onset of COVID-19 and the unprecedented, mass-reduction in force via layoff, furlough, and termination due to business closures, HR Uncovered for You was launched on social media platforms. More than ever, women, African-Americans and Latinos, were disproportionately and negatively impacted by job and income loss. These and other protected minority groups of workers needed to know and understand their rights and how to leverage them. The emphasis placed on workers instead of employers, was then and is now, the distinguishing aspect of HR Uncovered For You.
I am most proud of being an advocate for working people and to share with them, the knowledge I have so that in their workplaces, they can protect themselves, their job and their income.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
Other than a personal Facebook (with tons of privacy controls!) and a rarely used Instagram, I had no other ‘footprint’ on social media. I was reluctant to expand a social media presence, for the same reason I was reluctant to get on Facebook in the first place… I kept asking myself ‘who might be dredged up that I might not want to engage or reconnect with?!
Since everything was shut down due to COVID, in-person engagement was not an option. The only way to reach people was through social media. So I was actually left with no choice. I created an HR Uncovered for You Facebook business page and on May 1, 2020, I went live on Facebook to launch HR Uncovered for You. Live and in real-time… no do-overs!! It was scary and was not without mistakes. I didn’t even realize I was live at first and was looking around my screen to see who had joined!! Only some family members, friends, and my accountability partners joined in support and boy was I grateful!
I took some lessons from “YouTube University” and got help from tech-savvy folks to improve my ‘go lives’ and continued to post informational content on Facebook. Then, on May 28, 2020, I created an Instagram account for HR Uncovered For You and made my first post. I went live on Instagram too – a hint… always ‘go live’ with the understanding that folks will see it later in their feeds. Don’t worry so much about who’s watching you live at the time. Soon after, I was posting regularly. I created hashtags specific to HR Uncovered and included them with every post. Hashtags are an important shortcut for your audience to follow you on social media. Next, a real important feature of social media for me to increase audience reach, I boosted high-engagement posts on both FB and IG.
I’m not a social media guru, but I can recommend two things: (1) be consistent with posting content and (2) reply to individual comments – that’s engagement with your audience!
Can you share a story from your journey that illustrates your resilience?
Since the pandemic, the word ‘resilience’ has become part of our everyday vernacular – people, institutions, brands, infrastructures, you name it, this word has been used to define them. For me, the disconnect from each other that COVID created, has made it difficult to demonstrate care, empathy and concern for other human beings. Without in-person interaction, it’s been a real challenge to make the CONNECTION with individuals. There are times (ebbs and flows) when connection with people via social media was simply ineffective – since early in the pandemic – everything had moved to the internet and virtual. Meeting on Zoom after work hours and on weekends was not always optimal timing, but for working people, it is the only time that’s feasible. So, resiliency comes in all forms for humans… physical, mental, spiritual and emotional resilience. For many, to be able to work and succeed in corporate America without structural, institutional and systemic barriers, simultaneous resilience in all these areas has always been important to have. COVID only heightend the level of resiliency needed.
- Website: www.hruncoveredforyou.net
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CAwTwmtJnx9/?igshid=17xgl5bcxqhtk
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HRUncovered/
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/hr_uncovered