With all of the things going on in the world today: the pandemic, supply chain issues, the great resignation, why is DEI important? Well, DEI is at the heart of all of these issues.
Research has shown that the pandemic disproportionately affects Black and brown people at higher rates. This is a result of systemic issues around the provision of adequate health care and the high number of minorities that are employed as essential workers. Your BIPOC staff may be feeling the effects of the pandemic in varying or heightened ways. Even if your immediate BIPOC staff may not necessarily be essential workers, they may have relatives or friends that are at an increased risk.
Additionally, this is a great time for all companies to assess their business as usual. Has the status quo in your organization run its course? Are there better ways the organization can support employees to increase their workplace satisfaction, which will ultimately result in greater commitment to the company? I think it’s safe to say that we will never go “back to normal.” Companies can utilize this change in workplace normalcy to establish new employee-centered norms and practices. What if you could use this time to truly center the needs of the people who make the magic happen at your company? DEI is a large part of that work, as it allows us to look through a different lens to ensure that the places we work are representative of the larger population and that we are culturally able to support all of the members on our teams.
It’s also important to keep in mind the effect that the pandemic has had on marginalized populations. For a while, we lauded the frontline workers who kept grocery stores running,
gas stations operating, worked on our roadways, and cleaned our buildings. Women that had to choose between staying home with their children and putting food on the table. According to the CDC, racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be essential workers at healthcare facilities, farms, factories, and public transportation. Therefore, they are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, despite having less access to healthcare for treatment. Due to their socioeconomic status, most of those workers do not have the option to stay home or avoid COVID hot spots. Nor do they have a financial safety net to fall back on, should they need to take time off to recover or care for a sick family member. Employers should continually re-evaluate their sanitation practices, provision of protective items, such as masks and gloves, and allotment of sick time for those who may suspect exposure.
To see more videos about DEI in the workplace, follow us on YouTube!