Black History Month is coming to a close, but DEI-minded companies’ work to empower and support Black employees is far from finished.
“While Black History Month creates an opening to engage in important conversations, we advise our clients and partners to think about their Black employees’ experience all year round,” said Praxis’ Co-founder & CEO Elise Smith in a recent article with HR Today.
Praxis surveyed platform users to better understand the range of Black employee experiences and found that Black American respondents were twice as likely as any other demographic group to select race-based microaggressions as a top concern at their company.
The report also revealed the top areas Black employees find most important in the workplace.
- The chance for genuine career advancement (31%)
- Inclusive and transparent hiring processes (23%)
- Pay equity (15%)
“The data from learners on our platform reveals that Black Americans disproportionately experience race-based microaggressions in the workplace. Moreover, they believe race-based microaggressions pose barriers to their individual and their company’s success,” said Smith, about the results.
Translating data into action
Here are three actions we recommend business leaders take to support Black employees year-round:
Listen to your people
Regularly polling Black employees invites them to share their workplace concerns and flag areas where their experience could be improved. Open dialogue and active listening helps build empathetic, collaborative teams that spark innovation. We recommend business leaders leverage this data to better identify areas for improvement. Then, you can more strategically allocate company resources that speak to Black employees’ concerns and drive real impact.
Empower Black employees to reach their career goals
Concerned glass ceilings are preventing Black leaders from advancing to more senior roles in your organization? We recommend launching a mentorship program that encourages Black employees to network and learn from one another.
The “Black Googler Network” at Google has 35K members and collaborates with HR to set hiring targets and direct L&D investment, such as the launch of focused onboarding programs. Morgan Stanley, Uber, and others leverage similar programs to drive improvements for their Black employees’ experience at work.
Continue to invest in DEI programs
Investing in leadership to develop human skills that promote an equitable and inclusive workplace culture is proven to drive more sustainable business outcomes. Methods like immersive and experiential learning help build empathy and provide opportunities to practice new behaviors and interventions that could create more equity and inclusion — from how to give feedback to how to de-escalate a difficult conversation.
“From there, team members can apply their learning in the workplace, driving real behavior change at scale,” says Smith.
At Praxis, we believe that people success is business success. By encouraging open, honest conversations with your Black employees, and committing to actions that support them, you build on your DEI commitments and foster a workplace that supports everyone to reach their true performance potential.