As our society was confronted by renewed conversations about race in 2020, all aspects of life had to be examined. Corporate culture was no different, as both explicit and implicit policies that led to historic exclusion continue to be discussed by a variety of industry leaders. After speaking with several corporate leaders, including, Black Enterprise suggested five tactics that could help to foster a more inclusive workplace both for the good of society and to improve bottom lines.
One crucial area that Robert F. Smith Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners has spoken at length about is using the scale of private companies to make great strides in both areas at once. He proposed corporate leaders double down on internships, ensuring that at least 50% of incoming interns come from diverse backgrounds so the pipelines to corporate success and positions are equally distributed. Not only will this help to counteract some of the systemic advantages that white interns typically enjoy, it will help companies better represent their diverse customer bases.
The five suggested tactics from corporate leaders are:
- Create a Hive Effect Through a Community — Change too often happens in a silo, but communities are stronger and make change happen faster and in a sweeping fashion. Employee resource groups within companies, and associations across the industry can better collaborate to create actionable plans for change.
- Focus on Fixing Systems — Systemic issues within organizations often make it impossible for minority employees to succeed. Focusing on reforming policies, practices and processes will remove the barriers that often hinder those in the workforce who have different backgrounds than the status quo.
- Establish a Firm and Clear Line of Success — Private industry constantly uses KPIs to measure their own success and make needed adjustments, but fail to use that same mindset when approaching inclusivity issues. Creating accountability mechanisms will better serve companies doing the work to create a better culture for everyone.
- Act at Scale — Systemic inequities have stood in the way for people of color to be afforded the same opportunities at white people for hundreds of years. Reforming those systems cannot be piecemeal, they must be radically delivered at scale.
- Stay Focused on Economic Outcomes — Private corporations have a responsibility to address and help reform the inequities that they historically helped to create. Removing barriers to entry for people of color will allow them a more equitable opportunity to build their own wealth and create long term-economic benefits across generations.
Read more about how industry leaders are creating more inclusive corporate cultures at the Black Enterprise website.