Systemic Discrimination at Work: From Performative to Transformative (Part Two)

In a previous article, we learned to recognizethe insidious signs of systemic discriminationin your eco-system. But to go further, you must learn to discern performative actions (the tip of the iceberg) from transformative actions (the submerged part of the iceberg).For example, instead of only educating employees about microaggressions in the workplace (performative), give them tools on how to respond (transformative). There are many ways to move from a superficial and performative approach to a transformative approach with high added value.

Companies have 5 concrete areas of action:
  • Recruitment and hiring
  • Benefits and working conditions
  • Ratings and promotions
  • Meetings and social connections
  • Learning and growth

In 2015,the management team ofFractured Atlaswas composed entirely of white men. External consultants and 14 company employees examined numerous aspects: job descriptions, candidate banks, and even travel and expense policies. These consultants reported directly to the CEO, to enable independent access to financing and real transformation of the organization.

Concrete action plans for your organization:
  • Conduct an internal diagnosis of systemic discrimination by an external consultant
  • Structuring the staffing program to eliminate unconscious bias
  • Create mentoring programs andtraining ofleadershipfor people of color
  • Offer more visibility to minorities on opportunities that highlight the company (panel, webinar, trade fairs etc.)
  • Lead conversations and training for non-racialized employees on how to be a better ally
  • Set up interracial group meetings to create asafe place

However, making these workshops compulsory would be counterproductive. Research has demonstratedthat mandatory training can activate the prejudices of employees who do not appreciate being dictated to their behavior.

By letting employees freely register for workshops, with an open and proactive mind,you will create a lasting and solid core of engaged and aware employees, who will become good alliesand will thus positively and sustainably transform the organization and our society. As for employees who challenge your values ​​of inclusion, it is your responsibility to intervene and sanction these behaviors, because it is the social responsibility of your organization.


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