We had the chance to share an hour with Culture Amp’s Global Diversity Officer and Chief Mathpath, Aubrey Blanche. Aubrey has built a well-deserved reputation for her expertise in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. Our conversation was particularly timely given the civic unrest and protest due to intolerable racism that at long last all have recognized and are speaking out against. Keep in mind, black racism is a global issue sadly. What can business leaders of companies large and small, public, and private do to ensure that their organizations aren’t contributing to the situation?
First understand the difference between diversity, inclusion, equity, and equality. Diversity has to do with respecting differing opinions and individual differences. Too often though, diversity is more associated with white women and black people. Companies pat themselves on the back due to being gender diverse and ignore racial diversity. Diversity expands into those with physical challenges, veterans, generational. Inclusion has to do with a sense of belonging and being valued, however, all too often it feels more like one is being tolerated.
It is the difference between equality vs equity where we find the greatest “aha” moment. The notion of “normal” demonstrates that if we are already in an unfair world, which many would argue our past notion of normal was for many, it keeps it unfair.
Equity refers to giving each person what they need; thereby leveling all playing fields.
Senior leaders within a company can take an active role by doing more than just talking. Rather than sending thoughts and prayers, commit to plans and take action. Be accountable by creating a feedback loop that informs the effectiveness of the actions being taken. Ask your team what is the one thing I’ve done to exclude you and the one thing I’ve done to include you? Listen to the answers and change behaviors as a result.
Middle managers can educate themselves and their teams on microaggressions and be vigilant to identify them, recognize them, and catch them before they happen. Secondly, provide true feedback. All too often people of color aren’t given the feedback that their white counterparts are given. As a result, they fail to get the guidance and necessary direction on what needs improving thereby hindering their advancement.
What can employees do?
Everyone can do their job a little bit better. How can you do tasks with a mind geared towards equity? Are you making an effort that your professional network and spaces aren’t just people that look like you? Are you talking to your children/families?
How does a company balance wanting diversity with I need to fill this spot now? These are the moments your dedication is tested and proved. Don’t leave a position open for 2 years, but maybe wait 2 more weeks. Make sure you’re utilizing sources that will provide a wide variety of candidates.
The three traits that will help carry you forward and ensure a culture of equity? Transparency, communication, accountability. Be open with your efforts and even more open with your missteps. Stay away from guilt, shame, and blame. The homework we can all do to ensure a more equitable world, both professional and personal?
- Buy any book or read blog written by someone who is black and an anti-racist educator.
- Find a thing to be useful at. Commit to one thing to do every day this week to be pro- equity.
- Give yourself some time, space, and respect to process your feelings of guilt and shame. Use them to fuel you but let them go and find the joy to keep yourself going.
It’s a messy process because humans are involved. It will take time to get this right, but with patience, persistence, and heart we can make progress together.
Join Us On This Journey
We recognize that the road to equity will require a long journey. It will take the efforts of many people talking and working together to create the widespread positive changes we want to see. I believe if we connect all these smart, talented, passionate people through SPECTRUM Virtual and get them started on that journey together–we will one day see an inclusive, equitable economy at the end of the road.
Join us for SPECTRUM Virtual June 9 – 11, 2020. Sign up and ask a friend to log on! Once you are there, don’t just listen-share your perspective and story and best thinking.