It’s been almost two years since the murder of George Floyd. Immediately following the tragedy, the world erupted. Weeks of (sometimes violent) protests occurred not just across the United States but the world, highlighting the need for racial justice.
Compared to the protests, one of the quieter changes in the wake of Floyd’s death occurred in the workplace. Employers around the world began to evaluate their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts and make rapid changes to the way they had been addressing diversity in the workplace. Here are some of the changes that have been made as a result of 2020’s events.
1. Hiring diversity professionals
A 2020 Glassdoor study shows that diversity and inclusion job openings have rebounded 55 percent since racial justice took center stage with Floyd’s murder in May 2020. Initially, these job openings declined when COVID-19 hit in March 2020, but they began to surge in June 2020 when companies recognized their role as leaders in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
So, who are they hiring? Everyone from diversity and inclusion experts and consultants to keynote speakers and researchers. These individuals bring the necessary skills and experience to help transform workplace culture and maximize inclusion.
2. Supporting diverse gender identity and gender expression
In the past year, we have celebrated diverse gender identities and expressions in a new and unique way. Organizations began to understand gender identity beyond the gender binary and share pronouns regularly. While pronouns may seem simple, it’s an indication that the language is finally evolving to represent the diversity that exists.
3. Diversifying leadership
In corporate settings, white men are the typical faces of executive leadership. In the past few years, companies have made an effort to open senior leadership to people of color and women. While minorities are still very much under-represented in these positions, organizations are attempting to tackle the bias that exists in both hiring and promotion processes.
A new strategy that’s being used is presuming every employee is eligible for promotion and discussing why an employee is not ready rather than picking favorites and pushing for advancement.
4. Adding learning opportunities
Organizations are also beginning to add voluntary training sessions for employees. Adding in a diversity calendar will help keep diversity and inclusion fresh in employees minds. Research shows more positive results when training enrollment is voluntary. Additionally, when diversity training programs are voluntary, minority groups tend to grow. Diversity managers report that 80 percent of people still attend when diversity learning sessions are optional, and strong leader participation is one way to boost further participation.
Following the death of George Floyd, diversity and inclusion is no longer a “nice-to-have” feature of competitive organizations. If you want to continue to push your company or program forward, continue integrating these trends into your current process.