Everyone should be wearing the D&I hat as it is needed now more than ever especially in the era of BLM. Chief Diversity & Inclusive Officers are leaving or roles are being cut. These roles are crucial and are needed at the table - voices need to be heard.
What changes should be made?
This is a perfect storm to provide great change.This is the moment to re-evaluate and re-assess. It’s a scary and sad moment but its about making impactful change and making the workplace different.
Organisations are at different stages of their D&I journey. Take a look at your D&I goals that have been set. Have you been achieving them? Do they need to change? The problems and challenges are not new. The D&I role is crucial. Re-evaluate where you are, hear from your employees and clients – what do they want? Is Diversity, Equality and Inclusion important? YES, it always has been. It is a first responder role. White people are leaning in and showing empathy and want change to happen.
Change can’t happen overnight – Data is needed to inform – Annual employee Surveys, take action to bring Black and minority groups forward. Use data to guide and have a focus on retention and hiring.
How do you counsel your organisation to become vocal on BLM
Be active, call out things you see that are not right – there is strength in numbers. Voice things, make suggestions. We all need help in developing the answers and making change. Your employees/ customers/clients want to see how you are approaching and dealing with D&I and the solidarity statement you put out. How do you address the centuries of systematic racism within your company? – we needed this pressure to drive change.
Companies need D&I Champions, Black and Minority Employees need Allies. All Employees should be D&I Champions and Allies. Ask questions, challenge. We all have to see ourselves as champions. This is an EVERYONE issue regardless of your colour. Who is speaking up for your isolated and lonely Black and minority employees and colleagues? Directors of power within organisations don’t know everything, they may not be interested. It is important to create spaces for them to hear other voices. This moment is causing everyone to make changes . Look in the mirror and not outside the window.
Look at the structures and systems that racism has been built on and get rid of them. Create structures of how to move forward in a sustainable way
The role L&D Plays
Look at L&D broadly to tackle what is a big problem. One off Training is not enough, it has to be ongoing. Audit courses, what is needed?
What can I do as a white employee to help my Black and Minority colleagues?
You could have done more, you could have tried harder, you could have pushed back, you could have spoken out – but its not too late. Use your privilege to make changes – starting NOW.
Have cross cultural friends. Not just your Black and minority colleagues you work with, friends you hang out with outside of work - If you don’t know or understand the challenges that Black and minority people go through, how can you standup and make changes. Create different spheres of friendship groups. Question the composition of your company. Is there lack of diversity in the people who hold positions of power? What about new hires – how many diverse graduates has your company employed? What recruitment agencies are being used – the ones that get you the same non diverse shortlists? Hold your company accountable.
Remember – its not too late.