When it comes to the boardroom, there’s always something people of colour tend to notice—a lack of diversity. It’s something that visible minorities (including women) have to consider when looking to enter a certain arena. With so much civil rights discourse in the United States taking center stage, many companies have looked at their own hiring practices and thought of ways to be more culturally inclusive.
It may not seem like a big deal but promoting diversity is something that often gets overlooked. Diversifying your team should be as important as diversifying your skillset as both offer an advantage in the marketplace. Investing in an array of people is vital to an organization’s success.
Check Your Bias
It’s only human to have blind spots, but that fact doesn’t help build your business or create an inclusive environment. Being aware of your own bias is the first step to making real change and realizing how that bias has impacted others’ lives, both professionally and personally. Managers, bosses, and human resources may not notice it right away due to unconscious bias, but the slightest reason to deny someone a position is often not linked to their skills. A business that only hires people that resemble those who are hiring is doing more harm than good, shutting out qualified people from other backgrounds.
Ask an Expert
There’s no shame in asking for outside help; in fact, it should be encouraged. Bringing a consultant on board can only help organizations. A lack of diversity in both women and people of colour in capital markets is nothing new so introducing an expert in such hiring matters is important. There’s a disproportionately small amount of POC in boardrooms at high levels as opposed to their white counterparts and getting an outside opinion can shed some light on those blind spots.
In the corporate world, it can be hard to speak up and feel like someone will advocate for you but being free to speak your mind is an important part of healthy work environments. Employers should consider allowing employees to speak up on all matters concerning the business, including hiring practices. While it can be an awkward conversation to have, it’s important that an organization does not treat the “diversity line” in their policy section as a gimmick but actively sticks to it.
Look at Your Policies
While it’s common for companies to state that their hiring practices are full of equal opportunities for visible minorities, a majority of the time diverse candidates get inadvertently shut out. This can leave a wide gap in the financial sector for POC who have the potential to manage their own team at a higher level. In order to promote diversity, a business has to be willing to live and breathe its policies and values. What a business stands for morally can have a direct impact on it financially.
Part of helping to promote any change in a broken system is offering to support those in need. Networking and making meaningful connections are vital parts of any industry but many, especially POC, can find it hard to break into the market and get the chance to make their mark. It doesn’t hurt to help others find opportunities in reputable businesses. Fostering growth and trying your best to connect experienced professionals with new candidates is a great way to promote inclusion.
Dontei Wynter | Staff Writer