In order to support Black employees, business leaders must foster a safe space in which communication is instilled through proactive check-ins, feedback, and an open two-way channel of communication with the higher-ups.
According to CNN, a recent study conducted by the Center of Talent Innovation (CTI), a company that advises Fortune 500 companies on diversity and inclusion, found that White men and women have a higher sense of belonging in the workplace than their colleagues of color.
The report was based on findings from two surveys taken by a “nationally representative sample of college-educated, white-collar professionals” in February and May.
The study also referred to key findings from focus groups and one-on-one interviews.
According to the press release, a follow-up survey in May found that Black professionals were more than 5 times as likely to have lost a family member to COVID than their White counterparts.
According to CNN, the report notes employees who belong to groups underrepresented in the workplace “step into their careers at a disadvantage. Thus beginning their career journey “riddled with reminders that they’re outside the norm.”
“Belonging will become increasingly relevant in the aftermath of the global pandemic, economic disruption, and social unrest,” says Lanaya Irvin, president of CTI, in a statement. This report gives corporate leaders a path forward toward creating inclusive cultures where all employees feel seen”
The biggest step to ensure a more inclusive workplace is communication.
The following findings will show ways to develop and strengthen communication in the workplace.
Create A Direct Line of Communication With Employees
Middle managers should be actively seeking and fostering a direct line of communication between them and the other employees. This communication can consist of “check-ins.” Management will actively listen to their employee’s problems and address their concerns.
In an interview with CNN, Julia Taylor Kennedy, CTI’s executive VP and the primary researcher of the study, says “we are all carrying concerns.” She notes that for each ethnic group the concerns vary in size.
For example, the current global health pandemic has disproportional effected minorities compared to their white colleagues.
According to the study, “11% of Black employees and 8% of Latinx employees said a family member died of COVID-19, while only 2% of White employees reported the same.”
Be Open to Feedback
Another key point noted in the study to advance at work inclusion is feedback.
According to CNN, White Managers have difficulty expressing feedback to employees of color. This inability to give constructive criticism puts these employees at a “disadvantage.”
Kennedy says “if you don’t get honest feedback, you can’t adjust to meet expectations.”
Connect Different Rank of Employees With Communication
The last large effort to make the workplace a more inclusive space is to open the line of communication between “rank-and-file employees” and the higher-ups, such as Senior Leaders and Board Members.
Kennedy suggests this during town halls or meetings that the higher-ups should share their own personal experiences and stories.
According to CNN, “CTI found that employees with a high sense of belonging reported having leaders who were role models or people whom they have something in common with.”
“The potential for real, systemic change is right now, as the systems and structures that promote inequity gets torn down and rebuilt,” says Pooja Jain-Link, executive vice president and co-lead researcher, in the press release.”Belong is crucial to the creation and forming of new systems. We need to feel like we belong to each other and to this world.”