This moment can serve as a turning point in history. It’s frustrating that police brutality and racism still exist, but it’s motivating seeing so many individuals and organizations find their voice and take part in the different methods of protest.
When companies first start work on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, they typically begin by focusing on improving race, gender, sexual orientation, and other demographic classifications through the hiring process. While they may initially attract candidates, they fail to retain them for one key reason: authenticity.
When employees don’t feel like they can bring their authentic selves to the workplace, they won’t feel comfortable sharing their ideas, offering their own perspectives, or discussing their passions. This dampens any diversity initiative and any real creativity that individuals can bring to the table.
While this has always been a problem, the societal turning point that we are at requires companies to foster a stronger environment of authenticity. It requires employees to bring their true selves to work and fight for progress on important causes by leveraging the company’s core competencies. It’s important to encourage employees to remain authentic and to leverage their diverse backgrounds to find their own way to protest through the context of their work in a way that lends their voice and expertise.
This promotes diversity in the workplace and allows individuals to support causes by elevating their company’s platform.
How to encourage DEI while supporting social causes
To facilitate DEI in the workplace, companies should:
- Prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives to cultivate an environment that encourages employees to maintain their individuality and diverse background.
- Spend time brainstorming with and listening to employees on how to leverage the business’s core competencies to make a meaningful difference to social causes.
- Create and vocalize a plan that announces your company’s stance, illustrates immediate action, and holds your company accountable for the long term.
How to find your company’s place in creating progress
At Jopwell, our mission is to make a substantial and measurable impact on increasing Black, Latinx, and Native American representation in the workforce by partnering with organizations across the U.S. to recruit, retain, and support professionals of color. Today’s current events directly impact our team and the community that we serve.
Last week, we held an all-hands meeting specifically to discuss ways we could lean in, take a stance, and contribute toward racial equality. During this discussion, we took the opportunity to reflect on our collective set of skills and expertise to come up with a way to drive change authentically and in our own way. As a group, we agreed that the best way to further contribute toward equality is to push forward with our mission.
If we continue to elevate career opportunities for Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals, we create further economic opportunities and wealth for people of color. And wealth is a key variable that leads to equality in America. For our company, that is the way we can continue the work toward an end of racial injustice.
Jopwell is a mission-focused for-profit business made up of people who bring their authentic selves to work every day to drive change for our community of Black, Latinx, and Native American students and professionals. For companies that aren’t driven by an underlying mission so closely tied to recent events, you still have an opportunity to foster your employees’ diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and expertise to brainstorm your own way to protest. I challenge you and your employees to leverage your core competency as a business and leverage your employees’ diverse backgrounds, skill sets, and expertise to protest against racial injustices.
If we all focus on what we do best and couple that platform with our voice, we will facilitate meaningful and lasting change.
Porter Braswell is the cofounder and CEO of Jopwell and the author of Let Them See You: The Guide for Leveraging Your Diversity at Work.