Know more about the benefits of having a diversified office and how to maintain an understanding organization.
Although discussing race and diversity in the workplace can be a touchy subject, it is a very vital topic to discuss, especially in today’s world. America has had a track record of employing particular races and genders over others, and as we stand in 2020, people are demanding change. Having a diverse workplace can benefit your company greatly, from pure financial gain to better employee engagement and satisfaction. Opening up your talent pool to people of any ethnic background, gender, religion, and age can give company’s the opportunity to seek out the most talented people, regardless of what they look like or their differences.
Look Within First
In order to implement and promote diversity in the workplace, there is a great deal of “looking within” that needs to take place. When seeking to diversify your company, you need to encourage and expect honesty. As business owners, you need to be honest and look internally and see what the actual percentage of people of color that you hire and actively seek out for recruitment. This can tell a lot about biases, and give way to understanding the lack of diversity that you may be unintentionally imploring within your company. It is also important to encourage honesty with the current employees that you have. Encourage them to be honest about their own personal racist or sexist internal dialogues and promote actively unlearning those behaviors to put forth a safe, welcoming environment for those who may look unlike them.
Accounts of Racism in the Workplace
It can be easy to just assume that everyone can move forward and accept diversity in the workplace, but unfortunately, that is not the case. There are countless amounts of people in the workforce that have to endure racist comments or subtle racist behaviors at work, and consequently, have to swallow them in fear of “giving the bully what they want” or perhaps losing their job. Racist comments, no matter how minuscule they may seem, are deeply hurtful and should not be tolerated. After all, we are all adults working in the workforce and people of color should not be made uncomfortable by other adults who can not seem to be racist silently. Implement policies that make it against company policy to act racist at work or behave in a racist manner towards or around colleagues. As employers, managers, “higher-ups”, it is your duty to take racist accusations seriously and address them immediately. Also utilize that time addressing the situation, to educate that person, or persons, about why what they said was wrong and use it as a lesson to learn. After all, it should not be a person of color’s job to educate others on why they should treat people of color like humans, it should be everyone’s duties – especially as allies. Let employees know that there is no tolerance for racism in your establishment, and deal with that individual, or individuals, accordingly. As for the colleagues who have to endure racist behaviors or slurs, do not be afraid to notify your bosses about racist notions happening in the workplace. Everyone has a job to do and if you can not effectively do your job due to someone’s ignorance, it is imperative that you bring attention to the matter. If a racist comment or behavior hurts you, you are valid and although no one can tell you the “appropriate” action to take in that situation, it can be suggested to take that as an opportunity to notify that person of how that comment or behavior affects you and your feelings. Most people can empathize when you’re bringing attention to a hurtful behavior or comment that they’ve participated in.
Unpacking & Unlearning Racism
Unpacking and unlearning racism can be a difficult thing to do, and micro-aggressions transpiring in your place of work can make things even harder for those who are ethnically diverse. As employers, it is important to put forth an initiative to teach others to understand just how impactful racism is, especially in a safe space such as work. No one wants to feel like the “odd-one-out” at work, and racist undertones don’t put forth a great message about your company. Don’t teach about tolerance, teach about acceptance and respect. Everyone deserves to be respected at their place of work, regardless of their ethnic background, gender, or age.
Encourage employees to learn from each other. Nothing is more valuable than open conversation and dialogue! Host meetings or seminars that talk about racism and diversity in the workplace and allow for there to be free flowing conversation so that everyone can learn from each other, especially those who are affected by racism.