Recent events have forced long-avoided topics like mental health and race into the workplace. Employers have gone from talking about work-life balance to helping their teams balance all aspects of their personal and professional lives.
Social justice and racial equality have come front and center as key aspect of employee wellness, and “employers can bolster their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts by providing a safe space for workers to have respectful and honest conversations,” according to SHRM. But mishandled, even inadvertently, efforts to address these delicate topics can create more discord than resolving it. “Falsely labeling diversity efforts as charity or compulsion will only further divisions between employees.”
According to the Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey, 96% of CEOs agree “DEI is strategic priority/goal for them.” To do this authentically and in true allyship, it’s critical for businesses to consider how to go beyond acknowledging holidays and trendy hashtags.
We’re giving you four key tips to celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion beyond Black History Month:
1. Be authentic.
According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review, employees yearn to work in a genuinely safe environment where they feel supported and included. To create a space where employees come to work as their authentic selves each day, your managers need to be empathetic and transparent leaders who genuinely get to know their team members. Recognize and address different individual experiences rather than treating underrepresented minorities as a representation of their culture.
As part of Black History Month, Paylocity hosted a Fire Side chat with Black leaders to discuss the importance of authenticity and intersectionality. They also addressed side effects of a non-authentic workplace, such as code-switching.
2. Encourage difficult conversations.
It can be intimidating to discuss topics like anti-racism or current events, especially in the workplace. Historically, employers have encouraged leaders to skip these conversations altogether. To keep DEI at the root of your culture, you must keep these conversations alive all year long. (Check out one of PCTY Talks podcasts launched during Black History Month where we discuss tips to navigating these conversations with your team members.)
3. Always be learning.
Remember that it’s okay to admit when you don’t know something. This is a new space to navigate for many companies. The best thing you can do as a leader is to actively educate yourself as much as possible. And when you learn something new, share it with your employees! During Black History Month, our PCTY One World ERG shared resources such as “How to talk about race with your family” and other links to art and history created by Black artists.
4. Seek feedback.
Do you have a pulse on what your employees need? Try hosting roundtables or utilizing Surveys to solicit feedback from your employee population. You won’t know what will make the biggest impact unless you discover the biggest need in your organization. You’ll gain insight into what your employees find important and how to effectively implement change in your organization. This brings in your employees as culture co-creators and shows you are actively listening.
For more information, try checking out our webinar, “Building a Culture of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”