Our work lives can be a challenge under any circumstances. For black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), it also involves some unique obstacles. These complications can often seem invisible to those who are not BIPOC. This can cause discomfort but it’s also an opportunity to improve the quality of the workplace.
Diversity is more than a trending topic on Twitter. It’s not just about quotas and statistics. Diversity within your workplace can directly result in a diversity of thought and ideas. Any successful business can appreciate the importance of thinking beyond the norm or accepted parameters. In other words, creating a safe workspace for BIPOC will also improve the quality of life on the job.
You Can Learn By Doing
We are in a moment for speaking up. If you’re a BIPOC, the climate is ideal for starting crucial conversations. If you’re not a BIPOC, this is your chance to show support and learn more. Don’t let fear stop you from being an ally:
- If you remain silent, it can be interpreted as resistance. Take a chance and share your thoughts. Remain humble and open to feedback.
- Back up your words with actions.
The goal isn’t perfection. It’s also not about memorizing phrases to repeat at the right time. You should aim to be the kind of person who easily expresses empathy, curiosity, and solidarity. Following are some suggestions to get you started.
5 Ways to Help Create Space in the Workplace For BIPOC
1. Resist the Urge to Make Assumptions
From top to bottom, employees and employers must start from a place of open-mindedness. It’s easy to make assumptions based on what you read online or see on TV. More often than not, these sources are biased or uninformed.
Keep in mind that impacted groups are not a monolith. No one person can speak for the entire group. This makes it super important to keep the conversation going. When it comes to creating safe spaces, there is no finish line. Commit to the process and stay flexible.
2. Work Collectively to Set Clear Goals
Don’t leave anything to chance. Also, don’t leave anything unspoken. Without the establishment of clear goals, your may turn to virtue signaling. Attach metrics to your efforts. These may relate to areas like:
- Recruiting and hiring practices
- Meeting styles
- Protocols for BIPOC to offer feedback
3. Create Safe Spaces for Dialogue
Not every conversation has to be about work or about socially charged topics. Make it comfortable for employees to connect as humans. Prioritize ways to inspire co-workers to interact as friends. You may be surprised how this can smooth the way for the tougher conversations that need to be had.
4. Create Safe Spaces for Specific Discussions
Sometimes, it becomes necessary for workers to hash out challenging issues and conflicts. Elevate BIPOC voices while encouraging others to practice listening with an open mind. Consider partnering with the local community groups with which BIPOC are already engaged.
5. Create Affinity Groups
Also known as “Employee Resource Groups,” this can be a powerful resource for BIPOC. You can meet together — without the presence of others — to discuss needs and progress. This is not about segregation. Rather, affinity groups can reduce a sense of isolation or marginalization for BIPOC.
Change is Happening
There is no shame in feeling confused right now. Things are changing constantly and there is a lot to manage. Plenty of people feel lost. It helps to have some professional guidance. If you want to grow but feel resistance internally or externally, let’s connect. Please read more about job and career support and then reach out for a confidential consultation today.