Companies Need A New Diversity Approach to Combat Racism and Race Discrimination
Over the past few months, you may have been on the receiving end of an invitation for diversity and inclusion training. Perhaps you’ve already experienced racism to the point where you needed to hire an employment attorney in Los Angeles. There are drastic changes happening in America – and American businesses across the board. Improving cultural and social wellness has become a vital initiative, especially now when everyone has a responsibility to be socially aware.
Commitments to change have been made before, but actual efforts to provide adequate solutions for racism or race discrimination in most corporations have not. Millions or more were invested in corporate diversity training over the decades. Drastic transformations are unlikely to happen if the board of trustees, employers, managers, employees, and general staff are not keen on change.
Forbes reported diversity experts, also people of color, told Zenger News what is happening now is not working. During and post-pandemic C-suite executives must do the hard work internally.
What Does Racism Look Like in The Workplace?
In 2020, Americans were bracing the pandemic – as were companies that were seeing a sharp decrease in income. Many were fired or laid off, while others worked from home. Not having in-office interactions limited the amount of EEOC charges that were filed last year. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reported receiving 67,448 charges of workplace discrimination. This was the lowest amount since 1997.
Though, the agency resolved and litigated claims to obtain more than $400 million for victims. Race claims made up 32.7% of all claims this year. It is important to note it is not inclusive of what may go unreported or happen outside of the physical office. With any dispute that happens in the office, you may need a lawyer after experiencing racism in the workplace. Before the company initiates an investigation, you should have a strong foundation of how your rights can and will be protected. Similarly, your lawyer can help you start the process of filing a lawsuit for damages caused.
Diversity and inclusion programs have been the biggest response to mitigate and prevent unfortunate situations from happening at work. Studies show a positive correlation between diversity and financial performance, productivity, and morale according to Forbes. While companies are looking at the benefits of having individuals with different perspectives on the team, it also opens doors for others to have a seat at the table as well. In most cases, this is the first step to avoiding disparate treatment and discriminatory practices from happening and getting overlooked.
Thoughts on Diversity Falling Apart
Diversity experts are skeptical about whether companies will create real change through small-scale programs and training. Forbes reported experts’ responses to a Zenger reporter.
Paul T. Harper, a clinical assistant professor of business administration at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business shared his perspective. “I do think sometimes, when I’m being somewhat skeptical of this in the short term, that people are [being asked] to do something” and they need to show results, he said. “For a business, conducting a meeting becomes a metric — a woefully insufficient one, with no support to do more.
“There’s generally no budget or accountability connected to these efforts,” Harper continued. “To those more analytic like I am, these are some of the ways to sniff out real effort. If you don’t see systems of accountability and don’t see a budget, that already tells you this is something the organization does not take seriously.”
In other words, if there are ineffective diversity programs, what good does it do for people of color that are applying, onboarding, or are employees? Simply hiring or diversifying talent does not resolve the issue. With current trends in the news, companies are thinking differently but it will take significant effort for old paradigms to be broken.