Racism in the Workplace: Here’s What Business Owners Need to Know

Racism in the workplace

Although it is illegal, workplace racism remains a huge problem in the United States. Companies have spent billions of dollars on diversity and inclusion in recent years, but statistics show that many are falling short of creating equitable workplaces for black employees.

Black professionals are still more likely to encounter prejudice and microaggressions than any other racial or ethnic group. This comes in the form of racially insensitive language, fewer promotions, not having support from managers, limited access to senior leaders, and retaliation for reporting incidents.

Here are some statistics that all business owners in the United States need to be familiar with:

  • Black workers make up 13% of the U.S. workforce, but racial discrimination against this group accounts for 26% of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and its partner agencies.
  • American workers experience more racial discrimination in the workplace than those in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. A survey by Glassdoor found that 42% of American workers said they have experienced or seen racism at work, which was 12% higher than the overall average.
  • Black men make up 10% of corporate C-suite roles, while black women make up just 4%. White men and white women respectively make up 68% and 18%.
  • 43% of black executives have had colleagues use racially insensitive language in their presence.
  • The majority of U.S. workers feel that more needs to be done to combat racism, with 55% saying their company should do more to increase diversity and inclusion.
  • Research from New York’s Center for Talent Innovation showed that 38% of black professionals feel that it is unacceptable at their companies to speak out about their experiences of bias. Their silence led them to feelings of isolation and alienation in the workplace, fostering greater turnover and disengagement.

Ways to combat racism in the workplace

According to a survey from BetterUp, workers who feel like they “belong” stay at their jobs longer and are more productive, while employees who feel “excluded” were 25% less productive. Here are a few ways to combat racism and create a more diverse and inclusive work environment:

  • Educate yourself on the topic as much as possible. Read about the subject and check-in with other business leaders to discover what they are doing to combat racism.
  • Offer employee training. Starbucks famously closed all of its 8,000 stores for a day in 2018 to conduct staff training designed to “address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.” The training was provided to nearly 175,000 employees and partners, and it became part of the onboarding process for new partners.
  • Talk about racism- more than once. Keep the conversation going because racism will not magically disappear. It will take ongoing discussions, employee resource groups, and training to make employees feel safe enough to speak up.

At Answering Service Care, we are proud to employ a diverse team of talented individuals. With that said, we are committing to creating an even more inclusive team through intentional and rigorous recruiting and promotions. We will not stop until we have achieved our goal of making Answering Service Care a more diverse and inclusive company, where everyone feels a sense of belonging.

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