All businesses play a role in eradicating racism. The peculiarity of the industry or business model may offer a more meaningful approach, but all can take some generalized actions. First, the trendy “Black solidarity” messages are a nice gesture but must be coupled with actionable solutions. These actionable solutions will vary depending on the business but offer an excellent opportunity to engage employees at all levels to better learn of organizationally inequitable practices and policies within the workplace. Once these practices and blind spots are made aware, strategizing and executing a plan of action is critical.
As cliche as it may sound, representation does matter. If demographic trends continue, nonwhites will make up half the U.S. workforce by 2050; contrarily, the increasing diversity is not extending to high-level management positions (Lucas & Baxter, 2012). To address the issue of diversity in management, businesses can leverage the resources of executive search firms, establish partnerships with diverse network associations, create pipeline programs focused on leadership development and consider talented candidates that may not have historically “fit the culture” of the organization.
An unassigned problem has an unassigned budget. In the Journal of Managerial Issues, research shows that budgetary commitments capture key features of change efficacy within businesses (Breaux, Finn & Jones, 2011). Businesses that are serious about their role in eradicating racism must have dollars and resources allocated toward it, whether that be shared among several departments or specific to one.
Racism is not a binary responsibility of businesses and police departments, but everyone. Dismantling a system that has been methodically interwoven throughout the threads of our nation will take time and action. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that this pandemic of racism will receive the same attention as any other pandemic or global issue. Businesses must now be open to removing their masks, taking a step closer, staying informed and ensuring that this “return to normalcy” is actually quite different! ν