As the volume of news about Black Lives Matter in the media, your Facebook feed and elsewhere quiets down, we can only hope that it’s the beginning of a more significant period of adjustment that allows for equity and justice for those who suffer at the hands of our bigoted systems. It’s depressing and frightening to think that, now the furore has died down, things might go back to the way they were, only slightly less bad. I hope this isn’t true.
I suspect that you’ve probably all done your own reading on and around the matter of racism in recent weeks, but one book that I suggest is How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
. It’s really helped me get my head around the deeply systemic and widespread racism that affects everyone from the moment they’re born. It’s not enough to be “Not Racist”, you need to be “Antiracist”.
I’d be interested to hear what books, articles, podcasts etc you’ve been consuming recently to help you get a better understanding of the situation. I also found this resource recently, it’s also excellent: http://yourblackfriendsarebusy.com
Issues on defunding the police aside, us people professionals are in one of the best positions to make a change in society. We have them means, motivation and authority to ensure that the companies we work for, or own, employ a more diverse workforce. I suspect that you’ve probably got diversity targets in place and that you’re measuring (where it’s legal and appropriate to) the number of diverse employees you have.
But let me ask you a simple question: How diverse is your HR department?
If you’ve not got a diverse set of employees actually in your HR department, recruiting, managing, supporting and promoting your diverse employees, how diverse and inclusive are you really?
If you’ve not got any black people working on your recruitment team, how will you know what it’s like, really, to be recruited as a black person? If you’ve not got any less-able-bodied employees on your HR team, how will you know whether your systems and process support the physically, mentally or emotionally less-able?
I’m sure you’ve got your books and metrics, but unless you’re walking the walk, I’m going to believe you’re not serious about diversity at your company.
It’s up to us, as people folk, to ensure we’re doing everything we can to change our companies and, eventually, our society, to be more inclusive. It starts with what you can control and that’s the makeup of our HR departments. Hire diverse employees into your people teams and let them help drive the systemic changes needed in most companies to ensure a more inclusive and diverse workforce.
Thanks for reading. Any feedback is warmly received.
Remember, if there’s something in particular you’d like to see in here, then let me know. I enjoy getting the questions from you people-people as an irregular Q&A email, so if anything is chafing, or you need some advice, hit me up firstname.lastname@example.org