- Being one's authentic self is encouraged in best diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices. However, the greater majority of Black professionals working in the finance, law, accounting and consulting fields said they felt pressure to change aspects of their behavior or appearance, according to a report by workplace social network Fishbowl in partnership with Living Corporate. More than half of respondents in advertising and tech fields felt that pressure as well.
- Under a third (32.84%) of respondents in the tech field believed their company's DEI initiatives were effective, which was the highest percentage, followed by respondents working in accounting (29.13%); finance (28.13%); advertising (20%); and the law profession (14.14%). Half of respondents working in finance and in tech felt that their companies focused on the retention of Black employees compared to 22.22% in law and 21.47% in advertising, the lowest percentages.
- Many of the respondents were not satisfied by the number of Black professionals in each industry. The finance industry scored the highest, with under a quarter (18.18%) in the field reporting being satisfied compared to the advertising industry with 4.89% being satisfied. The survey also found that Black professionals in the tech industry had the highest trust in their companies "to do the right thing," if an incident of racism was reported, about 47.54%. Finance professionals had the least trust in their companies in this aspect. The report, released Feb. 8 amid Black History Month, was the result of a cross-industry survey of 963 Black professionals conducted by Fishbowl and Living Corporate Feb. 1-7, 2021. The respondents, from various companies including Amazon, Facebook, Deloitte, Google, IBM, JP Morgan and Nike, answered a series of questions about their workplace experiences, according to the report.
In the wake of national calls for racial justice in 2020 and vast inequalities highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic, many companies made statements, donations and commitments to increasing diversity. However, many Black employees are seeking real, sustained change.
"The multitude of conversations regarding race and racism within the context of professional life make clear that much work remains to be done to make industries and companies more equitable," Zach Nunn, Black consultants fishbowl community leader, Big4 consultant and founder at Living Corporate, said in the report. Companies are "well served by creating diverse, equitable and inclusive environments," Nunn said. However, "historically marginalized talent" is "underemployed, under-sponsored, overworked and over-mentored," he said.
Making DEI part of a company's business function, not just HR programming, is the most effective best practice, according to a Feb. 16 report by Josh Bersin analysts. However, the greater majority (76%) of companies have no diversity or inclusion goals, the report found. Listening to employees and then taking action is an essential strategy as organizations that engage in this practice are 12 times more likely to retain employees and 8.4 times more likely to make them feel like they belong, analysts found.
Among best practices, companies must commit to reviewing the progress of key DEI metrics and then fix any issues that are identified and hold leaders accountable, Meisha-ann Martin, director of people analytics at Workhuman, wrote in a recent opinion piece for HR Dive. "Your momentary discomfort is a small price to pay for removing the more permanent and pervasive levels of discomfort that some people feel in organizations every day," Martin wrote.