Over the last 48 hours, I have watched technology CEOs, industry executives, and leading VC firms voice their outrage by the killing of George Floyd and decry racism in America. Many of their companies have made official statements and even provided financial support towards nonprofits supporting racial injustice.
I admire their efforts but frankly I think they can, and should, be doing even more to go beyond the platitudes and philanthropic donations to create more impactful change. As leaders of people and organizations, those same executives can stand up to racism by the examples they create in their own companies. I’m encourage by CEOs like Ken Frazier, Merck CEO, who spoke eloquently yesterday on CNBC about equality and companies opportunity to create change. He leads by example!
As someone who has worked with HR leaders for nearly 2 decades, I encourage all companies to make a stand through your actions. Here is a small list of 10 things you can do today!
1. Define your diversity ethos. What do you stand for? How do you think about inclusion and enable ALL employees to create economic opportunity? Companies should use their resources like the company’s website or social media platforms to make a statement.
2. Assign an executive responsible for diversity, inclusion & belonging. This person should be closely aligned with the executive team. Salesforce.com led the way a few years ago but creating a new role, Chief Equality Officer, that reports directly to CEO Marc Benioff.
3. Make all promotions & compensation structures equal. Mellody Hobson suggests we set targets and create incentives for change. In her words, “you get what you incent.” SHRM has some great content on Managing Pay Equity.
4. Create mentorship programs that connect underprivileged employees with executives. Slack has developed a program called “Rising Tides”, a six-month sponsorship program to develop diverse emerging leaders.
5. Set a standard and goals for recruiting diversity. If the NFL can do it with The Rooney Rule, you can too!
6. Make diversity training and unconscious bias education mandatory. Linkedin Learning has 2 dozen courses on diversity and inclusion including a fantastic course by Pat Wadors, Chief Talent Officer at ServiceNow.
7. Encourage employee resource groups with executive sponsorship support. ERGs have the ability to empower employee voices and socialize topics of inclusion. Just today, Airbnb published an “Activism and Allyship Guide” published by the Black Employee Resource Group.
9. Create a diversity scorecard and measure frequently. Give your leaders the tools to make change. Salesforce.com provides a monthly diversity scorecard for all leaders that manage teams over 500 employees.
10. Build a diverse executive team and board of directors. Nothing is more annoying that watching a company decry racism…
…and then showcase a lack of diversity within their executive team and board of directors.
No company is perfect but, in this moment, business leaders must take a stand. We all have an opportunity to create long-lasting change now!
(Cross-posted @ Arcadian Insights - Jason Corsello)