Rally cries for overdue social justice hit a fever pitch this past year. Social, corporate, and legislative entities alike were called on to reverse discrimination – often long-held and systemic – through everything from personal introspection to stronger diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) measures.
By and large, the business world answered the call.
Fortune 500 companies, moms and pops, and millions of companies in between took to social media with shows of allegiance and commitments to doing better. They highlighted donations to social justice organizations and overhauled policies and practices. Boards were diversified. Mistakes were acknowledged. Promises were made.
But especially as Americans begin returning to in-person work…to the well-worn paths of workplace habits and demands…the question looms:
Will it stick?
Will companies deliver on their newfound convictions? Or will the circumstances of 2020 and 2021 become one more too-small step toward widespread justice for all?
We believe most companies want the former. That they want to protect against discrimination (conscious and otherwise) and create a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace for current and future employees. So how can you prevent old tendencies from creeping back in? How can you keep the fire lit under intentions when faced with the complex reality of implementation on top of everyday work? These are loaded questions that myHR Partner has helped answer for almost twenty years. A few high-level suggestions for getting started:
Remember What You Wrote
Did your company proclaim its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion on social media, in an email, or on some other platform or scenario? If so, make it an assertion you don’t forget. Whether this means printing and hanging your promise where everyone can see it or adding it to email signatures company-wide, keeping those words in your purview is a great means of expectation-setting and accountability for yourself and your people, not to mention customers, clients, and vendors.
Make Your Policies and Expectations Clear to All
When it comes to DE&I, don’t assume that your team shares your understanding of what’s expected and what’s right. From leadership down, every employee needs to be briefed on what’s changing, from policy to practice. Yes, these are delicate matters. Reach out to us if you’re looking to create and roll out a plan.
Know the Law
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that a person cannot be fired for their sexual orientation, with one loophole: This protection only applies to businesses with fifteen or more employees…except in the fifteen states whose nondiscrimination laws extend the ruling to all employees, regardless of company size. Point is, DE&I (and DE&I adjacent) laws are complicated and rapidly changing. Staying one step ahead of DE&I starts with legislative tracking; that is, knowing what’s legally required. Not sure where to start? We can help.
LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Juneteenth. Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The events that companies acknowledge and celebrate are shifting as we reconsider what’s important. Not sure what this means for your company? Start by taking inventory of what you already celebrate. Are these occasions important to your people, or simply habit? Your longstanding Valentine’s Day breakfast spread might mean more as a celebration of Pride in June. Honoring what’s meaningful and ushering in awareness where needed is more important than well-intended but empty excuses to eat, chat, and socialize.
We’re standing on a fault line of change, and beyond doing what’s legal, we hope all companies will do what’s right – yes, even when it’s sensitive and hard. MyHR Partner is here if you need help aligning your business to your convictions and to an evolving landscape and world. Reach out at 610.443.0119 or drop us a line here.