For a long time, employees have been asked to leave their identities at the door. This is an unreasonable, and frankly, impossible ask. For Black and other people of color, race often informs every part of our lives.
To find empathy and insight into what your Black employees might be experiencing and why it can’t be disconnected from their work, check out these articles:
- Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot
- Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not
- Y’all Hear Us, But You Ain’t Listening
So, you might be wondering… “Should I say something? What should I do?”
Consider this—If Human Resources is the department responsible for crafting and supporting the entire employee experience, then Human Resources is also responsible for addressing and combating social injustices in the workplace.
We can’t necessarily tell you what to do. Everyone has their own comfort levels with forming relationships with colleagues, and we can’t tell you the best way to reach out to your Black team members—because everyone is different!
It’s ultimately up to you to figure out how to best acknowledge big cultural moments and events. But what we can do is provide resources that’ll help you get there.
There is a wealth of great resources on the internet and elsewhere. There’s no better way to educate yourself than by seeking out Black voices.
When you’re ready to bring that education into the workplace, it can be tempting to act quickly and influence the conversation. However, we recommend bringing in an external group or speaker to facilitate these conversations.
An outside group will have experience guiding these discussions, dealing with any conflict that could arise, and can serve as an expert and neutral ground to your employees. Groups like Paradigm help make individuals aware of the implicit biases and racism impacting your workplace—which is the first step towards inclusion.
If you have the privilege to donate, you can influence real change with monetary support. Many companies are donating or offering matched donations—consider if that’s a possibility for your organization.
Not everybody has the means to donate or volunteer, so taking action as a company and as a leader in HR is a great step forward in making societal progress. It also sends a strong message to your team that your company is willing to stand by its values.
Your people will remember how your company reacted during this time.
It’s also important to choose a relevant charitable organization to donate to.
The subject of continued racial injustice can be difficult for companies to address, but it’s your responsibility as an HR professional to facilitate those conversations in a productive way. To create an inclusive and equitable environment for all workers, it’s imperative that you do the work to be anti-racist.
Your people are what drives your company’s success. In turn, you need to take action for those people and their communities.