Given the recent tragic events with the murder of George Floyd and prior injustices, employers are asking how they can better support their workforce during this challenging time and build more inclusive practices in their workplace. At Bundle, our business is caring for yours and right now we recommend you provide your employees with three things: empathy, leadership, and action.
Here are our suggestions for each of these areas:
1. Empathy: The terrible events have understandably shaken and devastated your colleagues and impacted your community. It may not always be apparent as people mask their pain, but many are suffering on top of the stress caused by the ongoing pandemic. Right now everyone could use more empathy. They need to know you care so check in with your teams. Ask how they are doing, REALLY doing, collectively and individually with supervisors and managers doing the same. Listen to their responses. Though not everyone may feel comfortable sharing how they’re really doing, all will appreciate you cared enough to ask, as opposed to remaining silent.
2. Leadership: This is a moment that requires your leadership from the very top. Your teams are counting on you to signal that you value justice and equality as core principles that are upheld in your workplace. And, that you are going to do something about it to make sure your company is always reflecting, growing, and learning. A company statement or email expressing your support and understanding, and reiterating that there is no tolerance for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, is a vital step and reminder.
3. Action: Words matter, but they need to be backed by action so your workforce knows you are truly committed to diversity and inclusion. Look around and assess how you can be a more inclusive workplace. Recognize that there is always room for improvement.
Challenge yourself, and moreover your employees, to ask these questions to get started:
Do you have strong recruitment and hiring strategies in place to ensure good practices that minimize unconscious bias?
Are your teams diverse at all levels in your business?
Are you tracking retention data and seeing who is leaving your business and asking why and how you can make changes to improve?
Are you offering adequate benefits and workplace flexibilities that help retain employees?
Do you have a chief diversity officer or are training your employees on what is expected of them to uphold equal employment opportunity principles?
Are all employees aware of how to report discrimination and harassment and do you have a strong plan in place to address incidents?
These are just some of the questions you should be asking to help you get started. Though the answers will be different for each business, they will help you further your diversity and inclusion goals by identifying where you can focus your efforts. A few other ideas are to meet with your employee affinity groups, organizations, and diversity councils. If there aren't any yet, help start one. Take a look at internal processes and work culture to ensure all your employees are able to thrive. Make sure you have workplace flexibilities in place that are proven to increase retention and productivity. Also, if you don't already have a mentoring and sponsorship program for all levels in your business, initiate one to cultivate future leaders.
Finally, this is a moment that requires deep reflection and analysis to forge a better, more diverse, and inclusive workplace for all. Know that committing or re-committing to these goals and actions takes time and effort, but that they will benefit everyone and mobilize inclusivity.
Our Bundle team is ready to help you achieve your goals, no matter where you are in this process, and be a part of your plan - so let's get started!