Impact was delighted to host a roundtable discussion in celebration of Black History Month 2022. Our group comprised of HR professionals and EDI Specialists within the Media and Creative industry who are not only game changers but individuals accountable for D&I within their organisations.
The discussion was hosted by our ED&I Recruitment Consultant – Daniel Oluyomi Asaya who set the tone by sharing both his personal and professional experience as a Black Queer Professional. The space quickly became safe for others to share their individual experiences as well as brainstorm ideas that could lead to effective structural change within the Media space.
Why is it difficult to talk about race within the workplace?
The consensus revealed that many People of Colour couldn’t speak up about their racial experiences within the workplace due to the lack of diversity and care from the Senior Leadership Team. Some also feared they might be called the “angry black person” or in some cases ostracised or punished if they spoke up about the microaggressions and racism they faced within the workplace. These microaggressions range from mistaking them for their Black colleagues, feeling undermined in their positions, to getting defensive when corrected about an offensive comment.
Another interesting observation was that many White professionals would rather not talk about race within the workplace due to lack of knowledge and fear of being called a racist. Also, discussing race forces people to confront their privilege which is an uncomfortable feeling.
It was generally agreed that race plays a huge role in both our personal and professional lives and should be talked about when and where necessary.
What is your organisation doing to create a racially inclusive workplace culture?
We discussed how some organisations have set up a network for People of Colour to interact, organise and heal. The downside was felt that most volunteers within these groups are often burdened with issues and projects relating to ED&I (just by virtue of their race or identity) without adequate support and budget. A solution to this was for companies to set out a dedicated ED&I group responsible for ED&I events and initiatives throughout the year instead of relying on employees from marginalised groups to drive this – frequently without reward and recognition.
Other initiatives shared included creating an E-mail and Podcast series aimed at profiling Black professionals during Black history month and beyond as well as an open day for young Black creatives.
How employers create a racially inclusive workplace culture (Key takeaways)
After an insightful session, our takeaways included: –
For HR leaders and employers to make ED&I a necessity instead of a tick-box exercise. From attending ED&I events, and putting in adequate resources/budget to rewarding those putting in extra time and work to make them happen.
Having a leadership team that truly cares about embedding ED&I into their core strategy; woven into their values, performance management and reward will go a long way in effecting long-term change.
For allies to actively step in and get involved in creating positive change by using their privilege to not only amplify the voices of Black People and People of Colour but also speak up in situations where they may feel uncomfortable to do so. This could also mean taking time to listen to how a situation or comment may have affected someone and putting a conscious effort into changing behaviours and/or calling out behaviours/microaggressions that you now know make people uncomfortable.
Ensuring that you and your organisation are not just preaching DEI but fully getting into the work and being on committees to plan events to celebrate the cultural calendar, ensuring not to leave the work of this to people in those communities only.
Rolling out ED&I training throughout the year and incentivizing those who show interest.
Having a mentorship and sponsorship programme of Black People and People of Colour within the Media, Entertainment and Creative Space.
A big thank you to all our guests and we look forward to continuing this important conversation in our upcoming events. If you are interested in joining our future discussions, please email Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org