In the wake of social injustice unraveling across the country, 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 their fleeting tenure average of 6.9 years.
Most Americans are demanding that companies get involved with the solutioning of complex societal issues like racial equality (87%), social justice (78%), 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 demonstrate their compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) law, widespread disparities and inequities still persist. Fifty-five years after EEOC women and Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) continue to experience inequitable opportunities and significant pay gaps to their white male peers. Even with Fortune 500 women CEOs hitting an historical high of 37 (7.4%), as of February 2021 there was not one Black or Latinx woman at the helm.
Unfortunately, for many businesses, the woke capitalism that fills billboards and TV airtime 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 are performative and empty and your lack of authenticity is transparent.
It is imperative to address the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace. For over a decade I’ve helped organizations dismantle systems of inequity; built impactful DEI strategies; measured DEI performance and success; coached and trained employees and executives on DEI constructs and behaviors; designed tools to empower allyship; created DEI initiatives to improve the lives of marginalized employees and communities; and facilitated authentic conversations to ignite positive change in corporate America.
Recognizing that we all start at different places. Meeting employees where they're at and providing various levels of support and opportunities to achieve fair outcomes.
A perception and feeling of belonging and being valued for being the full authentic expression of your culture and self.
My research shows that inclusion alone does not yield equity. Inclusion without equity is merely a fleeting illusion. Equally illuminating, equity without inclusion forces workers to mask their authentic selves to assimilate.
Employees ultimately want equision. Equision affords marginalized employees the opportunities they need to be successful while simultaneously creating a sense of belonging and value for their authentic expression of self.