Stop the Pandering: 4 Ways Companies Can Support Minorities During Social Crises’
Written by Mikala Young
We’re going through unprecedented times right now as a nation. Not only have we been fighting a pandemic, but we’ve also been fighting through a social injustice crisis. The year 2020 illuminated the dark cloud that has been haunting our country since its inception - racism. The nation shut down and the United States for the very first time had no other choice but to look itself in the mirror and face the hatred that has been looming over this country for hundreds of years.
We’ve seen it all in the wake of George Floyd, companies flocking to their company career pages, press releases, and social media accounts to share that Black lives matter and their mission is to be committed to creating an inclusive environment for all. And most recently, the hatred and blatant racism towards the Asian community has created #StopAsianHate and forced us to take a look at the domestic terrorism perpetrating against another minority group in this country. And with this recent tragedy, we’re seeing it again, companies taking the pledge to be inclusive, provide a safe space for all, and looking to their DEI leaders for relief to their employees. It seems as though there’s a similarity with the majority of these companies - they’re all saying the right thing and providing surface-level solutions to a deeply embedded problem.
Employees of all walks of life can see right through this yet, what are companies doing to truly support minorities during a period of such social unrest? What does true support look like when all we can see are the same words and actions that have been promised and used so much in this past year and a half. There must be a way for companies to move beyond this, especially those who are committed to a safe space for all within the workplace.
Here are four ways leaders across an organization can support minorities during social crises’
1. Provide Mental Health Bonuses - put your money where your mouth is.
Pledge to commit to underrepresented communities by providing ‘spot’’ bonuses to employees who are actively giving back to underserved communities. This is an opportunity to keep the dollar within those communities and also provide additional funding to programs and projects your employees are passionate about outside of work.
2. Pour into your DEI Department
If you look across the different industries that have recently appointed a DEI leader, you’ll find that many of these leaders inherited a lot of problems with little to no financial support to provide lasting solutions. Be the change you wish to see and provide the right financial support to your DEI leader. Without the right financial backing, DEI leaders aren’t able to effectively make a permanent change. With the right financial backing, DEI leaders can support under-represented groups to develop programs that can assist employees who are passionate about seeing others succeed in the spaces they are in. Financial backing can also allow DEI leaders to hire grassroots organizers and community leaders who are qualified to bring in their expertise and educate leaders.
3. Provide live updates From the Commitments You Make
Have you taken a look at the commitments you made to your employees back in March 2020? Have you checked back in with your employees since your recent company discussion related to recent events? Have you asked employees what they would like to see more of since your commitments? Instead of showing off to your company followers, focus on following up with your direct employees, the ones who are pouring 40+ hours a week to make sure you’re meeting the needs that they have.
4. Continue to Educate Executive Leaders
This may sound like beating a dead horse since every other article related to this focuses on some type of education, but it’s still valid and will continue to be a key ingredient in lasting change. Executives need to be humbled by these experiences, they need to see how an inclusive and diverse environment can create strong business ties and opportunities. Executive leaders need to have their heartstrings pulled continuously to show that what is happening in this country can be changed if they continue to educate themselves.