As you know, Black History Month is coming to a close. Given all of the recent turmoil and racial reckoning our country is traversing, we wanted to provide you with some guidance and tools to either start or amplify your company’s racial equity work.
Now more than ever, it's important for individuals and companies to actively address racial equity. From hiring practices, digital equality, and so much more, companies and individuals have multiple opportunities to make a difference.
Here are some resources and actionable next steps (big and small) to address this issue:
1) Educate Yourself First
On a Professional Level
Racial inequity is a complex issue that affects multiple aspects of your personal and professional life, whether you identify as a Person of Color (POC) or not. Before taking any steps, start by listening to experts, especially those with lived experience. Here are some resources that we recommend:
On a Professional Level
Racism is an intersectional issues that affects multiple areas of professional life. Here are some resources to orient yourself on racism in a work setting:
2) Think Holistically, Not Just HR Practices
Gabrielle Wyatt, CEO of the Highland Project nonprofit that supports black women in creating multi-generational wealth and change, looks at it from the other side of the table. You can watch her explanation in the webinar or read a recap here.
Here are factors she examines when looking a business's commitment to racial equity:
As you can see, there are multiple points where your company can choose to support racial equity, including but not limited to the following:
3) Take a Hard Look at Professional Development Programs
On a Hiring Level
Many companies have hiring practices that unintentionally exclude people of color. Here are practices to potentially rethink.
Consider Eliminating the Undergraduate Degree Requirement for Entry-Level Jobs
In our recent webinar on Strategies for Bridging the Digital Divide from Salesforce, Year Up, and Twitter, nonprofit Year Up dug into the problem of the opportunity divide. According to Year Up, over 12 million jobs are expected to go unfilled in the next decade - likely more with the Great Resignation. Yet, 5 million talented young adults are disconnected from these professional opportunities due to economic mobility or systematic barriers. Unfortunately, these barriers disproportionately affect BIPOC.
By eliminating the requirement for an undergraduate degree, your company opens up its hiring pool to a vast number of POC communities. In terms of your hiring practices, think skill, not credentials. If your company wants to work with Year Up young professionals, visit YearUp.org.
On a Salary Level
People of color, especially Black women, are systematically paid less than their white male counterparts. There are multiple actions that your company can take to combat this issue. Watch this webinar on pay equity to see how Survey Monkey, Appfire, and Kanarys, Inc. actively tackle this issue.
On an Executive Level
It's never been more important to have diverse representation on an executive level. Here is an article from the Financial Times on how to recruit more Black female leadership.
4) Support POC with Grants, Skilled Volunteerism, and Product Partnerships
Multiple companies use their financial, product, and human capital assets to support POC issues and business development. But how do you know which organizations to support?
Define What Diversity Means to Your Grant-Making
While the US government has very strict requirements for what defines a minority-owned business, the private sector definitions can be more ambiguous. When they decided to give loans to minority-owned businesses, Richard Brown, the Vice President of Social Impact at American Express defined the term explicitly for their internal stakeholders:
Defining what you mean by diversity in your grant-making efforts can help add transparency around the conversation.
Consider Participatory Grant-Making and/or Supporting Smaller POC
Roxana Shrikhoda, Head of Social Impact at Zoom, explains their focus on BIPOC-led companies that wouldn't normally get grants, particularly companies under $5 million in size.
"I don't buy the absorption myth where small organizations can’t absorb large checks. They can’t accept a check that no one gives them, and they can’t increase the budget if no one gives them a budget," Shrikhoda explains.
The program also practices a participatory giving approach with outside parties, which means that grantees participate in deciding where the money goes and how it is measured.
We want to hear from you!
How is your business working to support BIPOC and racial equity? Anything that we missed in this article? Let us know in the comments below!