Following the events of last summer — including the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake — businesses across the U.S. have paused to reevaluate their internal and external presence. Many made public statements rejecting discrimination and encouraging acceptance.
But simply put, that just isn’t enough. Companies need to adjust their workplace policies and practices in order to create real change. In this blog, we’ll be talking about those changes and how you can get started.
- Publish a clear statement
Chances are you have a company handbook for all employees. When was the last time you looked at it? Instead of just sending out an email regarding racial injustice, take time to review and update your employee handbook. A clear statement in the handbook prohibiting all race and gender-based discrimination and harassment will establish your desire to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.
While this may initially seem like a formality, a statement of this nature sets the tone for all who work at your company. Updating and expanding your current policies and procedures will assist you in expressing your position as you make this new push on diversity.
- Schedule regular diversity and inclusion training
Implementing consistent diversity and inclusion training for every employee can help individuals recognize and address problematic situations related to race in their daily lives. Following a race-related incident, Starbucks held a successful one-day racial bias training program for all managers and employees to bring awareness to unconscious biases we hold, foster empathy for others, and build social connections. Furthermore, training can help explain and expand on the company’s discrimination policies, complaint procedures, and rights while working. For management, you might consider training that focuses on patterns of racial and gender harassment and that promotes a more inclusive work environment for all.
- Encourage participation in racial justice initiatives
Participation in racial justice initiatives moves us toward a more inclusive world. As you continue to learn and grow as a company, encourage your employees to learn and grow along with you. Whether they wish to do this by educating themselves, donating money, having difficult conversations, taking political action, safely joining a protest, purchasing from Black-owned businesses, or getting connected with local organizations, there are a million ways to support the BLM movement. In your company, consider incorporating an online diversity training to educate your employees. By promoting participation within your organization, you further your reach tremendously!
Companies have pledged to do better — updating or (in some cases) establish policies on anti-Black racism. As an employer, it’s up to you to revisit your handbook, create trainings, and encourage participation from your employees. Diversity is a mindset and learning how to promote this perspective in your organization will do everyone good.