How To Amplify The Voices Of Your Minority Employees
In the last few years, diversity, equity and inclusion have become table stakes for most businesses. The 2020 murder of George Floyd amid the pandemic shone a national spotlight on racial injustice—and prompted many employers to take action. From bringing DEI experts into the C-suite to holding listening sessions with employees to developing new goals and metrics for hiring diverse talents, organizations largely stepped up to the plate to make diversity, equity and inclusion a priority.
It’s nearly four years later since this work accelerated—and are employers keeping up the momentum? A January survey by law firm Littler found that more than half of employers polled expanded their DEI focus in 2023, yet just as many acknowledge growing public pressure to dial back corporate DEI initiatives. Meanwhile, some high-profile companies like Walt Disney and Netflix have parted ways with their heads of DEI—suggesting a downturn in DEI work could be on the horizon.
However, DEI isn’t a check-the-box exercise that leaders can move on from after a few years! Creating truly welcoming and inclusive workplaces takes ongoing, consistent work. DEI is something that we at Integrity Staffing Solutions have been committed to since our founding—and we know how hard the work can be. But when done right, inclusive environments can help organizations succeed in the long-term—tapping the diverse experiences and skills of their workforce, fostering better collaboration and helping the organization appeal to tomorrow’s talent.
It’s work that requires the buy-in of the entire organization: from the CEO to the individual contributor. And everyone deserves a voice!
Empower your employees this Black History Month
What better time to supercharge your DEI efforts than during Black History Month? Organizations can use this occasion to keep momentum surging forward. This is an ideal time to ensure all employees feel included in efforts to advance equity.
Here are just a few ways to do that:
Listen And React
To truly take the ball forward on DEI, leaders need to understand potential pain points that could be disrupting progress for minority employees. That could involve town halls, one-on-ones and close work with company employee resource groups to inquire about where the organization may need to do more work, as well as what’s going well. That feedback should serve as the foundation for DEI strategizing moving forward.
A key way to help extend the umbrella to all employees and candidates is to tell their stories! Give minority employees forums to share their experiences, perspectives and ideas—both during Black History Month and, importantly, throughout the year. Their leadership may inspire other workers, create community and fuel an inclusive culture.
Minority employees likely want their employer to model inclusivity both at the workplace and outside. So, create opportunities for the organization to do good in the community, particularly through causes that work to fuel diversity and inclusion. Volunteering events, charitable donations, scholarship funds and more can all emphasize to employees and candidates that the organization values the many communities that matter to their workforce.
Organizations committed to deepening their DEI work must prioritize effectively. Particularly with an uncertain economy and labor market, business leaders may feel pulled in multiple directions; however, genuine DEI progress needs ongoing and sustained attention. Keep the C-suite focused on the business outcomes of effective DEI strategizing and lean into consistency to keep DEI at the top of the priority list.
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