Over the past few months, due to a spotlight being placed on ongoing racial injustice after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we have seen a significant rise in the number of racial minorities in general and Blacks in specific hired by major organizations (pushing the Wells Fargo’s President comments aside)… but now what???
In many cases, these newly hired or newly promoted individuals are walking into organizations that have no idea how to properly support their transition and set them up for success.
I remember being the only Black female department head at two different organizations. In both of those cases, I can count on one hand the number of times I was asked to join coworkers for lunch, included in conversations that didn’t directly involve my department, or invited to activities that took place after work. Don’t get me wrong, everyone was “nice”. They didn’t go out of their way to make my life difficult but they definitely did not make me feel a part of the organization’s leadership team and more importantly, they didn’t do the basic things to ensure my transition into leadership was met with the level of respect and acceptance that it should have been
So, what are you going to do now? You have a new Chief Diversity Officer or the first Black employee who is a people leader. How do you make sure they have all of the tools necessary to be successful in their role? How do you ensure they are aware of all of the unspoken rules of success? Who pulls them aside to mention little things that they need to know about the organization and its key clients?
Bringing them in was step one. It’s not the finish line!!
PS – Also, if the only Black employee you have in leadership is your Chief Diversity Officer you haven’t mastered diversity.