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Companies Benefit from Enhancing their Equity Lens

When it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, organizations must do more than issue statements of support; it’s important to put policies into place to show their support goes deeper than mere words.

Companies that are willing to look at their data-seeking barriers to full inclusion will see longer-term success in building a workplace culture of inclusion and belonging. It requires an equity lens to uncover the unconscious biases and barriers within processes that prohibit equal access to opportunities for all. Justice is increasing awareness of the impacted groups’ experience to emphasize what is needed for everyone to thrive and grow.

A study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 49% of Black human resources professionals felt that discrimination based on race or ethnicity exists in the workplace, compared to 13% of white HR professionals. Additionally, 68% of Black HR professionals felt their organization was not doing enough to provide opportunities for Black employees.

Another survey by SHRM found that 35% of Black employees said that racial or ethnic discrimination is part of their workplace.

An organization that wants to attract and retain a diverse group of employees should see and value the importance of racial justice education in the workplace and put into place a robust plan for diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and procedures. 

SHRM suggests that companies focus on three areas of action: communication, education, and financial investment.

While discussing issues of race and diversity in the workplace isn’t always comfortable for employees, no matter how they self-identity, one way to build trust for meaningful conversations is to participate in CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion’s Day of Understanding. These small conversations create a space for individuals to share who they are and how their life experiences have shaped how they lead today. Through sharing stories in the spirit of learning, respect, and understanding, people can connect with empathy and lead with compassion.

A recent study in the Harvard Business Review suggests that senior leadership members should take on active, visible roles in DEI work, and that leaders should be rewarded for practicing inclusive leadership.

Some large corporations, including Starbucks, Chipotle, and Wells Fargo, have said that they will link executive compensation to workforce diversity and inclusion goals.

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