While COVID-19 is making sure that we will not return to "normal" for business, it is up to each of us to make sure we do not return to "usual" when it comes to racial equity in the workplace. Right now, there is a plethora of articles, commentary, judgement, advice and emphasis on exactly how each company is (and should be) moving itself down the path to racial equity in the workplace. In this recent Harvard Business Review article, the author discusses how through conversations with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, racial equity has become an obvious business imperative:

"Racism’s legacy is complex, brutally ugly, deeply personal, and yet to be truly reckoned with, especially in the workplace...Achieving racial equity in the workplace will be one of the most important issues that companies will tackle in the coming decade."

It also begs the question, "How do we do this?" Leaders who have been quiet for whatever reason are now exploring and evaluating which initiatives to prioritize internally and externally. The initiatives that got us here have obviously not worked, and the article points out that "with traditional diversity interventions failing, these leaders — the majority of whom were white — reported feeling ill-equipped, even afraid, to act." 

Somewhere along the way, you've likely seen statistics to support going beyond moral arguments to make a strong business case for breaking the status quo. These articles, in places like the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, "have been championing equality for its business value." Some of the claims are:

  1. Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.
  2. More diverse companies make decisions better than their homogenous counterparts.
  3. Diversity in the workplace is good for innovation.
  4. Companies with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion see improved employee productivity, employee morale and less employee turnover.
  5. There is an increased sense of belonging and greater feeling of inclusion within these companies. 

While there may be numerous facts relating to how companies that are more diverse, equitable and inclusive perform better at business, the "business case" approach may not be having the desired effect overall. As Plus CEO Susan Benevides notes in a previous post:

"By tying D&I goals to corporate metrics, we run the risk of 'making people feel othered and devalued.' Employees are smart, and if they feel that they were hired simply to check a box or reach a goal, it’s easy to see how they could feel ostracized."

So what does "doing more" look like for global mobility? Well, recently the Minnesota Employee Relocation Council (MERC) hosted a wonderful webinar session, the first of a two-part series, entitled, "Diversity & Inclusion Part 1: A Time To Listen - Real People, Real Stories." The session allowed the audience to hear stories and real-life experiences from courageous black Americans who are part of our mobility industry — those who have relocated, as well as leaders in the diversity and inclusion arena. These stories need to be told and heard. Thank you to those who shared their stories. There is a lot of listening to do, a lot of conversations to be had, and a lot of changes to be made. Looking forward to Part 2!