MANN HR Consultant Group

Bridging the Gap


"Why conversations on race with your employees may not be necessary"

6/23/2020 Veretta Yancey

Companies are becoming more vocal about racial discrimination and unconscious bias in the workplace. Many are looking for ways to show they care and don't know where to start.

When police misconduct exposed the injustices in the criminal system, company leaders felt compelled to share their stance against racism. But what are companies saying differently now than when Diversity and Inclusion programs were rolled out in the 90's?

While we know that African Americans have been most affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic, they have also had the highest unemployment rates. According to PayScale's study in 2019, African American men make $.87 to every dollar earned by a White man. Even in higher paying jobs, African Americans are paid around 30% less than their white colleagues in the same role. The wage gap and the opportunity gap continue to be common in the workplace.

In 2017, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study showed that diverse teams produce 19% more revenue and a key driver of innovation. The benefits of diverse teams is highlighted in sports, entertainment and yet, Fortune 500 companies have only 4 black CEO's in 2020.

In this blog, I share five steps for leaders to bridge the gap with diverse employees within their organization.

  1. Recognize that African Americans are diverse within their own population and no one person can speak for all. If your employees aren't asking to host meetings to discuss, that may not be what they need.

  2. Use the same road map you used to address diversity (i.e. gender, sexual orientation, religious, etc.) accommodations as a guide to plan SMART goals to address efforts you're making and tie it to performance objectives.

  3. Partner with companies that have an African American presence for recruiting, coaching, mentoring and guidance as you make purposeful changes in your organization. #hrforallpeople #icantbreatheonmyjob

  4. Review your data and align it to the 2020 Census for your communities. Does your company represent the demographics at all levels of the organization? Are you promoting based on meritocracy?

  5. Make SMART goals to address pay equity, succession planning, mentoring programs, fast track or leadership programs that include African Americans.