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Diversity and Racial Justice: More Work for the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace can be a powerful and critical differentiator for your business or nonprofit. Having employees with different backgrounds who can provide alternative perspectives and bring with them unique life experiences can benefit your organization's decision-making processes.

Types of Diversity in the Workplace

Racial diversity is a common focus of diversity training, but it is essential to note there are more components when it comes to workplace diversity. Including:

  • Age and generational differences
  • Cognitive functions
  • Culture and language
  • Gender and sexual orientation
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Other: values, different experiences, and types of intelligence

Because of these different forms of diversity, leadership, and human resources, personnel must create an inclusive environment welcoming to everyone.

Breaking Down Racial Diversity

In light of the George Floyd murder and the many racial hate crimes that have taken place in our country, racial diversity in the workplace is, perhaps, being looked at more closely.

Racial diversity in the workplace – from the recruitment process to promoting people of color within the workplace – continues to move at an unimpressive pace. LinkedIn's annual workplace diversity report shows the needle is moving so slowly that some may say it is broken.

Some other top corporations have a similar problematic picture: Google's workforce is 3 percent Latino and 2 percent Black. Intel's workforce is only slightly better, with 8 percent Latino and about 4 percent Black.

Why do companies have problems with recruiting, supporting, and promoting people of color in a genuine way?

Many companies – especially in the tech and data industry – claim their recruiting problems lie on the supply side, with not enough Black and Latinx students graduating with relevant degrees in these fields.

However, a 2014 analysis by USA Today revealed that mindset is old school, as these racial groups have been graduating with degrees in computer science and computer engineering at twice the rate that the top tech companies are hiring them. 

So, is it possible businesses and organizations are not actively searching for underrepresented candidates?

Improving Racial Diversity in the Workplace

Organizational culture is front and center for recruiting, retaining, and promoting employees of color. This corporate culture is critical and likely the most significant factor in building a diverse workforce. It should be the job of leadership to create an environment that fosters this culture, leading to success among employees from all backgrounds. Likewise, there should be an emphasis on empathy throughout the organization. Showing empathy allows for open discussions, feedback, and compassion, and eventually, forward growth.

The Benefits of Improving Diversity

Ideally, companies would pursue racial diversity because it's the right thing to do. However, research supports the advantages of diversity as a way to improve the company's bottom line. Studies like McKinsey's show that ethnically diverse organizations are 35 percent more likely to outperform their peers. Why?

Two specific reasons:

  1. Diversity leads to more viewpoints and ideas, which results in better products and services. Companies and nonprofits need to keep producing the best product or services to thrive, so those who can get a more diverse workforce will have a competitive advantage.
  2. People of color are themselves increasingly representing a vital consumer base, and companies/nonprofits have to understand how to build products or services these populations want.

Decide today to get your business into the racial diversity mindset, and you will likely increase more than company morale and a thriving internal culture.