Today’s blog post will focus on my top 10 steps to create a more inclusive workplace environment. One of my biggest pushes in life is to help people gain more cultural understanding of each other. We need to self-audit ourselves and self-audit the places where we work. Much of our transformative work starts from looking within with our own unconscious biases, which turned into more micro and macro aggression. Many of us can’t prevent the harm that we see today.
Step number one is your job description. The usual sentence and phrase we all are too familiar with are we are an equal opportunity employer, and that phrase just isn’t cutting it anymore. Your team needs to go back and check out the language that you’ve posted.
I want you to look at your job descriptions. See if the vocabulary that you have written is welcoming for all. But when you have that welcoming for all, make sure your workforce mirrors what you’re putting out there. And let’s say this if your ideal crew to have more BIPOC employees isn’t there yet. Put that in your statement. We are looking to diversify our Staff to be more accommodating to the people we serve. There. There you go. Free little information for you right there.
I want you to think about looking deeper into your job description. The second thing I want you to do is check where you are posting said job descriptions, okay. Are you going outside of the box and posting job sites that are in allyship with our BIPOC job applicants, alright, a lot of us are in our default, and we are doing the same traditional things that we did 25 years ago.
If COVID had taught us anything, it could tell us now that we can step outside the box people can work from home and do a fantastic job at what they do. So that also means you, as the employer, need to step outside the box and see where you are posting these job descriptions and these job postings.
Please make sure you meet them where they are, go to your community’s multicultural centers, and go to the universities with international student departments. Go to those universities. There are so many multifaceted groups on many college campuses that you need to step into those places and show us what you have to offer. Step three is to audit your website. Yes, I’m a solopreneur. And I am constantly checking and correcting my website. Does my language portray the message I want for my audience? Those are the questions you also need to ask yourself, business owners. Does my speech on my website provide a more inclusive allyship?
Step number four, language matters. And interviews. I can’t tell you how many job interviews I walked in, in did myself growing in my own as a grown Liberian American woman, and going through the interview process, having a great time feeling that I’m clicking with that potential employer. And before we leave, that individual shakes, my hand says to me that dreaded fate phrase. Oh, you are so articulate. I’d tell you that phrase still makes my toes curl. Oh, it’s so so wrong. It’s like, nails screeching on a chalkboard. And the famous one that we always hear. I know, a lot of my BIPOC friends and people in a family can relate to that sentence that, uh, we don’t see color in our office? Oh, that’s a second double whammy. You know, these things. When the employer, future employer, the future colleague is saying these statements. They think that this is a compliment. But as the exact opposite is a huge insult to people of color. And of all groups. You know, when you’re thinking about me and my shoes and my perspective, I’m doing this interview. I feel like I have a good collaboration good energy with this prospective employer. when that prospective employer tells me that I speak so well, it gives a signal to me by saying, “wow, they have such low expectations of you, Jebeh, even looking at your resume, that the only compliment they could give you is how well you speak or write.”
When I am communicating with another human, speaking should be so not even in the stratosphere of your thoughts. Like, of course, I’m speaking, you understand what I’m saying. So telling me that I talk so well makes me feel that no matter what I show you of my accomplishments and accolades, the best thing you can say to me is how well I speak. Yeah, I don’t want to work for this organization. Okay. As I told you, the second point is that we don’t see color in this office, right? That is dehumanizing. When I say, dehumanizing is when you are a person of color. We take our identity as a badge of honor. I am a proud black woman, okay. You see me as a black woman. You don’t know me as a Liberian American because the first person you see first and foremost is a black woman in front of you.
So when you tell me you don’t see my skin tone, you don’t know who I am. That means that you don’t see all of me. For example, get this phrase out of your brain-“you are so articulate.” Okay? Phrases like this. Oh, what a wonderful conversation we had. Thank you for your in-depth analysis of data, data data, or thank you for contributing to this beautiful conversation on data, data data. Alright, those are the types of things you’re setting starters. See, as a teacher, I got my sentence starters right there for you.
Now, when it talks about that phrase that we all can’t stand, we don’t see color in this office, I was hoping you could change that sprays to we are welcoming to all people in this office, okay. I value my ethnicity and my heritage, my blackness. So when somebody thinks that they are giving me comfort by saying that it doesn’t have any value, that does not want me to be motivated to work for a business that doesn’t see all of me. So language matters. So very much.
Number five, retention through mentorship is vital. All too well, we know the ceiling of achievement for BIPOC Staff. Okay, more opportunities for advancement through mentorship from our upper management will lead to higher retention rates. Now, if your work culture is negative, your BIPOC Staff will feel like there isn’t any room for advancement, so they’ll go. So when you have these mentorships in place, it will give us more feelings of Wow, this company has confidence that they want me to move up. They don’t want me to stay in this lane. They want me to advance by giving me more mentors to see what it’s like to be at this next level. That is what I mean by mentorship is essential.
Step six set the right DEI goals. If you’re not sure about it, D is diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals. So many times, we get the motivation to write these goals out. But then we leave to revisit it on a particular month, and you all know that month. Yep. February, you do your work. In February, you have your one diversity training, and then you’re done. No, no, no, not working today. As I said, we are in a movement, not in a moment. Alright, for cultural understanding. So what I want you to do business owners, even you solopreneur I’m a solopreneur. And I do this to make sure when you’re working on your DEI goals that you revisit them quarterly. We are already reviewing our budgetary goals quarterly. We are already revisiting our use O’s quarterly and our other plans. Add that to your list because the more we can check and correct our practices, the better off we are will be for more positive
. Step seven is provide more training opportunities for advancement that goes hand in hand with our mentorship opportunities.
The old saying of Jeb, we can’t find any. That means we can’t find any individuals of color who will cut it anymore. We’re here. We exist. I always tell people that my Liberian parents did not move to the states for the weather. Okay, they did not come to America to see snow. We are at your football fields with our kids screaming and shouting because our kids are on the same team. We’re at your places of worship. We are literally in your neighborhood. There’s no excuse you can’t find us. We are here. To provide more training opportunities for your Staff to continue learning how different groups are and their distinct cultural differences and getting more opportunities of your existing BIPOC staff.
Your ideal future workforce will provide them the skills needed for advancement because as small business owners, even big organizations, it is way more economical to retain your Staff of color than going through the systems and processes of hiring out a right. So we need to focus on that.
Step eight, survey your organization and your public. If you want to know how your business is faring with cultural competency, you got to look within survey your Staff with Google Forms, anonymously, please. There have been so many Google surveys out there for our organizations that expect you to have your email address and name. Suppose you want that authentic, straight-to-the-point opinion where your staff members and employees feel that they’re in a safe space. Leave that anonymous. Make sure they feel comfortable sharing what they think will be best to help your business move forward. Also, survey your client and consumer base. I know we have a lot of feedback forms and things.
See if you can add some culturally specific questions to understand what your consumers need at this time. And to keep moving forward.
Step nine-Show and Tell. I know you’re thinking, it’s like hiding behind that cloak of disappointment. You might think, “Jeb, we don’t have enough women in our workforce,” or “Jeb, we don’t have enough LGBTQ people in our workforce, or We don’t have enough BIPOC Staff .”I get it, but you need to show and tell us where you are because we’ve got to go and start moving somewhere. Don’t feel that your vulnerability and guiding us and telling us your demographic numbers will hinder; it will be more positive. Because you’re telling me as a consumer, you’re telling me as that future business partner, that this is where you are. And that’s okay. I want you also to recognize that share who you are as an individual because that also speaks volumes of who you identify. And that will also gain more cultural understanding and acceptance.
And step number 10. Prove it. It will hold your organization accountable to get it to the number that reflects your goals. And also, it will show us, the consumer, the employee, the future collaborator, that you know what you need to do to be that beacon to be that authentically for your workforce and show us what your organization represents