Sweeping, societal change doesn’t happen quietly. The murder of George Floyd gave rise to scenes on America’s streets that seemed unthinkable a few months ago – entire police departments taking a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; multicultural demonstrations filling public squares in all 50 states during a lethal pandemic.
But the backlash has been aggressive and often cruel. It has welled up to the surface in the form of police brutality, incendiary politics and hateful behavior on social media.
It’s everyone’s problem.
American workplaces will face an enormous challenge in a few weeks when students go back to school and their parents head back to their offices for the first time in six months. It will be the first time many have had to talk about hot button subjects like the protests, the renaming of the Redskins, the toppling of Confederate statues, and all of the ways our world has transformed in a matter of weeks. The people engaging in these conversations will already be stressed to the limit by the pandemic and charged by all the presidential election rhetoric.
At a time like this, empowering every employee to effectively fight against racism and hostile behavior could hardly be more important. An ignorant remark could spark an argument that escalates out of control and destroys your office chemistry. Overheard banter between a few white employees could make a person of color on the team feel upset to the point of quitting.
Technology empowers diversity and inclusion initiatives
Over the last couple of years, diversity and inclusion technologies (D&I) have shown growing promise for leveling the playing field for minorities in the corporate world. A study by RedThread Research and Mercer found that the largest percentage of D&I technology solutions today are focused on talent acquisition and retention, including systems that mute information on resumes that might unconsciously trigger bias in the reviewer; analytics programs that can reveal trends like pay gaps among various groups; and systems that foster development/advancement opportunities for and greater retention of minority employees.
Amazon and IBM are trying to improve the situation by taking technologies off the market that could potentially foster bias and discrimination. Within days of Mr. Floyd’s death, both tech giants announced they would no longer sell their controversial facial recognition programs to law enforcement agencies. The systems have been found to match white faces with almost perfect accuracy but perform significantly worse with darker faces, creating false matches that could lead to arrests or worse.
For businesses to thrive, this work is non-negotiable: eliminate racism now.
When it comes to racial equality, the time for empty promises and sweeping problems under the rug is over. A company that hopes to thrive in the 21st century needs to be powered by a diverse staff whose members feel they are welcome and have zero doubt that they can grow within the organization. Technology can be part of the solution.
Tools like STOPit Solutions are being adopted by companies in industries across the United States to help combat racism, harassment and exclusion. STOPit’s intuitive user interface makes it safe and easy for employees to protect themselves and their co-workers when reporting threats and harmful incidents, and just as easy for workplace administrators to respond in real-time to de-escalate and resolve issues. The built-in incident management and reporting functions make the tool an attractive option for HR teams of all sizes.
Contact STOPit today to learn how our solution can help enable and empower your company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
How to Develop a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM)