How to Dismantle Systemic Racism in the Office


Systemic racism in the workplace will not be eliminated quickly without implementing significant measures.

Companies have a newfound focus on diversity that needs to be added to the foundation of corporate America, according to Business Insider.

Companies haven't been giving diversity and inclusion the attention it deserves. Chris Glass, a sociologist at Utah State University who studies the factors that shape the careers of professionals of color stated that companies usually dump those requirements on human resource departments. She compares it to police reform.

"Police departments are treating incidences of police brutality as problems of bad apples as opposed to a systemic problem of policing," Glass said. "Companies are doing the same thing."

Inclusion training has been present for over 50 years. In 2003 it was reported that companies spend 8 billion annually on diversity efforts. However, these investments aren't getting to the right places.

"I don't necessarily think that that money is being spent on diversity-and-inclusion initiatives," Villanova University management professor Quinetta Roberson, a highly cited researcher, said. "It's being spent on stand-alone training and workshops. It's difficult to think how a one-hour training would be able to create meaningful change. It has to be much more systemic."

In 2018, Harvard and Stanford researchers found that private-sector companies are more segregated now than they were 40 years ago. Furthermore, there are only 4 black CEOs in the entire Fortune 500. Research also shows that diversity in management leads to profits and productivity. However, nonwhite employees are often held to higher standards than white employees in leadership roles.

This study analyzed 15 years of CEO transitions within the Fortune 500. The study shows that white women and people of color were more likely to be promoted to CEO of a weakly performing company, and if weak performance continued, be replaced by a white man.

CEOs have announced self-education, creation of spaces for open dialogues, making donations, selling and holding to goals, and attempting to address bias in hiring as measures following George Floyd's death.

Companies need to analyze all systems that they have in place such as recruitment, team structure, promotion, and human capital. Next, biases should be identified. Finally, tracking real-world progress needs to be implemented to ensure that these systems continue to run flawlessly.

When it comes to addressing systemic racism, it's essentially impossible. However, employers that create open spaces for dialogue and survey employees are on the right path. Employers tend to think they're hiring the most qualified candidate, but sometimes hiring managers pick candidates that remind them of themselves. Minorities don't typically have this advantage.

A new focus is being placed on diversity and inclusion in the workplace that will help expand profits and business.

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