Despite the many protests and echoes of Black Lives Matter and the push for representation, can one genuinely say the office is a just and fair place for Black professionals? Are employers doing enough to respond to their needs?
There have been improvements, with employers leaning towards a more diverse and inclusive environment. This is because a more diverse company is likely to outperform a less diverse one. However, data shows that Black workers continue to face barriers to progression.
The study reveals that Black professionals in the UK have a more arduous road ahead than their peers. More than three-quarters of Black professionals polled say that they must put in more effort to advance. With blacks likely to leave their jobs more frequently, now is a good time for employers to reevaluate their policies.
Where Corporate Policies Are Failing Black Professionals
Although the pandemic saw an increase in company policies allowing employees to adjust to the new working conditions, more than three out of five employees in the UK said the policies were not genuine.
In the absence of clear policies to address issues and crucial institutional support, Black workers must assume the responsibility of trying to dispel stereotypes and navigate hostile work environments. From healthcare benefits and diversity programming to the HR department, there are several areas where corporate policies leave Black professionals vulnerable.
HR departments fail Black professionals
Are your HR managers proactively checking in with employees? In businesses, it’s the responsibility of HR to determine salary, address employee complaints, and control who gets hired and fired. However, Black professionals are frequently met with suspicion, retribution, and even harassment from HR, leaving them with no recourse when faced with prejudice. This raises the question, “which side is HR on?”
Black workers are often asked to offer strong evidence when reporting cases of discrimination or harassment. For Black employees dealing with daily microaggressions, this can be challenging.
Healthcare benefits for Black Professionals
Healthcare is rife with racial discrimination, which has grave repercussions for Black employees. Do Black employees have adequate access to medical coverage and health packages? Inequalities in the healthcare system disproportionately affect Black employees. These disparities contribute to gaps in healthcare coverage, unequal access to services, and inferior health outcomes.
Lackluster, ineffective, or outright nonexistent diversity and inclusion policies are ways organisations frequently fail Black employees. Company executives often hold the false belief that Black professionals will benefit from diversity and inclusion initiatives that have historically helped whites in the workforce.
Taking bolder action with diversity and inclusion efforts
Although many businesses are having more conversations about race at work, little is done. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand; thus, to experience real change, companies must create a genuinely inclusive work environment. This entails going beyond the hiring process and ensuring equal opportunity and treatment at all points where an employee interacts with an organisation.
Corporate leaders must use their influence to lead by example regarding behaviour and language in racial discourse. BYP’s Black Experience Course can assist employers in driving long-lasting, significant change.