We are traumatised. What are you doing about it?
The Black and Brown citizens of the UK, US and around the world have been traumatised for centuries and 2020 has been hard for us. Continued racial inequalities and injustices, murders of Black men and women, The Covid 19 pandemic and its rates of infection and fatality has exposed the consequences of mortality and economic disparities and the racism we face in our communities and work places has left us drained and asking WHY?
It is hence not surprising that many Black and Brown people are experiencing anxiety and anger. We feel tired, exhausted and traumatised. What we see today in society and the workplace is not ok. My emotions have led me to mobilise and take action. This is not the case for others. If our emotions are left unchecked, it can lead us to neglect ourselves which is not good.
The way chronic stress and trauma is affecting Black and Brown employees in the workplace is not being addressed and discrimination at work only makes it worse. Depression is very high with fear of future experiences with racism and bias being linked to depression and anxiety.
HR and Line Managers play an important role in eliminating racism in the workplace and supporting Black and Brown Employees. HR, how will you make changes in the workplace that could shape the future of inclusion and representation?
Firstly, you cannot be silent. As protectors of your business you must create environments where diversity and inclusion are nurtured and encouraged. Your Black and Brown employees must feel safe and have a sense of belonging. We know that more diverse companies are more successful.
Here are a few things that can be done:
1. Open up a dialogue – what can your company, leadership and employees do to support their Black and Brown colleagues? Ask questions such as - How can we hire more diversely, Are we paying Black and Brown employees fairly and do they have the same growth opportunities. Are you listening?
2. Get leadership involved – your employees need to hear a strong anti-racist stance from the executive leadership.
3. Review your existing policies and create new ones – around social media use, hiring procedures and interview practices.
4. Build transparent open-door policies to encourage Black and Brown Employees to submit complaints without fear or adverse consequences.
5. Encourage your employees to be active Allies.
6. Introduce D&I training – company wide from top down
7. Support and give back to the Black community in your area
8. Reflect and acknowledge your shortcomings – every company has to start from somewhere.
So HR, you recognise there is work to do and you need to be more active in your support of your Black and Brown Employees. Now is the time to take action, its not too late. I am happy to talk further.
Chikere Igbokwe is a D&I Consultant and runs Training, Webinars, Lunch and Learns on:
Race and Allyship
Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent
Creating a sustainable D&I Strategy
For further details contact me at: