But behind that increase is tragedy and anger. When looking at the proportion of employee comments relating to the term ‘racial inequality’, the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 had a significant impact, leading to the globalisation of social justice movements. It was only one week after Floyd’s death that we saw the first instance of “Black Lives Matter” appear in an employee comment.
There are two main conclusions to draw from this. The first is that people of color and allies alike are increasingly participating in conversations about racism and violence faced by underrepresented minority groups. The second is that these conversations aren’t just happening in your employees’ private lives anymore. They’re happening in the workplace.
Seeing such a strong rise in employee comments on this topic shows that employees want to be an active part of that conversation, even at work. How you respond as a business is important — and will increasingly become a decisive factor in employee engagement and loyalty, as well as prospective candidates’ decisions to join your company.
Intersectionality Is the Key to Success
When considering how to develop your DE&I policies, it’s critical to step back and consider the bigger picture. Being responsive is essential, but being reactive is a mistake. That’s why the best approach is an intersectional one.
Intersectionality in the workplace refers to the fact that the different aspects of a person — such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion — are interconnected, and how those aspects overlap in each individual uniquely shapes the privileges and disadvantages they face. In 2021, employees want their employers to empathise with the entire breadth of their day-to-day experiences.