In the wake of social injustice unraveling across the country like never before, corporations realize it's smart business to be “woke” and address systemic racism and discrimination. While hundreds of socially conscious CEOs like PwC’s Tim Ryan have engaged in CEO activism and publicly pledged their commitment to advance workplace diversity and inclusion, these efforts must extend past the fleeting 6.9 year average CEO tenure.
Americans are demanding that companies get involved with the solutioning of complex societal issues like racial equality (87% of Americans), social justice (78% of Americans), and economic equity. In fact, researchers found that 60% of consumers say brands need to take a stand on important social issues.
Though many companies have created symbolic structures (e.g., anti-harassment policies) to prove their compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) law, widespread disparities still exist. Fifty-five years after EEOC, Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and women continue to experience inequitable opportunities and significant pay gaps. Even with Fortune 500 women CEOs hitting an historical high at 37 (7.4%), there is not one Black or Latinx woman at the helm.
Unfortunately, for many businesses, the woke capitalism that fills billboards and TV air time often doesn’t line up with what they practice behind closed doors. If your company infuses your social media feeds with #BlackLivesMatter hashtags, but your policies still allow for race-based hair discrimination or if you sponsor a Pride Parade, but your LGBTQ+ employees feel forced to assimilate to fit-in with dominant norms, your words remain empty and your lack of authenticity is transparent to everyone.
Now is the time to address the lack of inclusion and equity in the workplace. For over a decade I’ve helped organizations dismantle systems of inequity, built DEI strategies, measured performance and success, coached executives, taught inclusive behaviors, empowered workplace allyship, improved the experiences of marginalized employees, and facilitated conversations that ignited real change in corporate America.