The Harvard Business Review article, How Organizations Are Failing Black Workers — and How to Do Better, points out that many companies have a soft commitment to real racial diversity. I recommend giving it a read. Here are five takeaways I’m bringing back to my company:
- Companies use relationships to find talent. Companies must encourage employees ( and in particular, executives) to get involved outside of the office in racially diverse arenas (e.g., mentoring, internships, Junior Achievement). Go and be where people don’t look like you.
- Define specific, measurable steps the company will take to encourage racial (and gender) diversity? Without targets, managers commitment will be squishy.
- Don’t allow job stereotypes to influence hiring decisions. For example, not all entry level developers are young, scruffy hipsters. And not all sales reps are cute young women.
- Sponsor people of color in your company. Be their advocate and seek promotion of and for them.
- In order to feel included and comfortable, people need to be around others who look like them and have shared experiences. Commit to hiring more than just one person of color to build a critical mass which encourages others of similar faith, race or background to join the team too.
- Executive must be diverse too. Having a person of color in the board room makes it much easier to hire employees of color who will feel comfortable and respected within the company.