As we transition into a hopeful return to the office space, companies should still have diversity and inclusion at the top of mind. Supporting your employees of color is about more than just hiring an influx of qualified POC, it's also about creating a safe and comfortable space for people of various backgrounds. Here's 4 ways you can keep DEI at the top of mind and continue to work towards a more diverse and equitable future.
Develop guidelines to explain exactly what an inclusive culture looks like and what constitutes unacceptable behavior. To be treated seriously, these guidelines must be supported by a clear reporting process and swift consequences. Companies should also hold periodic refreshers to drive the guidelines home and make sure all employees understand them.
In addition to teaching employees to recognize sexism and racism, this training should address the importance of understanding one's own privilege and taking proactive steps to eliminate bias and be antiracist. It should also emphasize tangible ways that employees can practice allyship, such as speaking out against discrimination and advocating for opportunities for POC colleagues.
Consider hiring and promoting POC in cohorts or clustering POC together on project teams. Creating employee resource groups specifically for POC in individual groups (as they identify) can also help them feel more supported and less alone.
Step back and consider how day-to-day customs might disadvantage POC. For example—are work events held in spaces that are welcoming and inclusive? Are POC getting invited to spontaneous informal gatherings? Ensure that POC have a voice in shaping company norms, and make it as easy as possible for them to speak up if it’s difficult or uncomfortable for them to participate.