Over the past several years, social movements aimed at equality have had a dramatic impact on the national conversation, at times extending to the influence of corporate practices. In the past, discussions of topics such as equal pay and racial equality in the workplace have often been perceived as taboo. However, factors such as pay data legislation, growing public pressure, and widespread activism have brought conversations––and actions––around workforce disparities to the forefront.
For employers, support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has come to mean more than simply showing support for formal movements. Rather, such support can work in conjunction with Diversity and Inclusion initiatives to better support staff members of color, as well as to recruit new prospects to build upon that mission. For employers, small steps can serve as a piece of a larger DEI framework. This past June, companies like Levi’s, JCPenney, Nike, Postmates, and Twitter were all recognized forgiving employees the day off on June 19th, also known as Juneteenth. While such gestures are no substitute for crucial DEI efforts such as pay equity auditing or pay gap analyses, they can serve as a sign––to employees, clients, and investors alike––of where a company stands.
“The first thing that employers have to be mindful of is that they have an entire staff of employees and must learn where they all stand in the matter,” says Tamika Hall, Marketing Manager of educational tech startup Yellowbrick. “A roundtable discussion should be made mandatory. After that roundtable, actions must be implemented internally. Diversity and Inclusion is more than something to add to a marketing plan. It’s not for content and advertising; it must be something a company wholeheartedly adopts and implements.” Hall also explains that these discussions will open up a dialogue where employers can see where employees’ strengths are in leading these discussions going forward, as well as taking action.
From placing leaders in diversity roles who understand the issues at hand to aggressively managinganti-discrimination policies, employers will learn how to better serve their employees of color, as well as vendors, clients, and even consumers. They will also have a better grasp of cultivating space within the corporate culture toaddress differences in an organized and constructive way.
“It’s important that companies take the initiative and educate their employees so everyone can have a better understanding of why they are adopting these policies and why it is even important to give it a look,” Hall says. “But that’s why it is equally important to have Diversity and Inclusion ambassadors who can explain what things like Black Lives Matter means and answer questions. Not everyone understands why it exists or why it is important. But everyone can play a role in making that change.”
If your organization needs assistance achieving its DEI goals, check out our professional consulting services and DEI software, PayParitySM.