Only 57% of black women feeling empowered at work compared to the average of 66% according to Engaging Works, annual Empowerment research.
"The research also showed that employees feel more empowered working from home compared to when they are in the office, with 73 per cent of staff feeling empowered whilst working from home compared to 65 per cent when in the office."
I hear many challenges cited as explanation for this: Improving data, transparency, resource constraints prioritising other diversity problems. The most worrying, to my mind, is the shocking need for HR to persuade senior leaders to believe and act.
Learning from all the conversations recently here are the standout levers for change that I am hearing:
1) Talking about race. Knowing you're not a racist is not enough. Silence is not action.
2) Gathering data through focus groups. Empower your staff to come together and communicate, learn, share and report. Collect this insight, respect it, study it, and take action.
3) Authentic personal and leadership development. Overtly and intentionally support and accelerate the careers of your black staff. Help them navigate their careers, open doors, set up relationships, mentor, propel them towards success.
Of course, coming from a brand agency, if your EVP and Brand has not been robustly and recently tested with a black audience, that is a #1 priority.
Other insightful data points from the research:
- Females, in general, scored below the average with 61 per cent and white and black males scored 72 per cent and 68 per cent respectively.
- Arabic women came top with 76 per cent, with Asian men scoring 71 per cent and Hispanic men at 72 per cent.
- Employees in the architecture and engineering, education, financial services, healthcare and public sector industries feel the least empowered.
- Those who work in the automotive, retail and travel Industry feel their views are not heard at work.
- With millennials and non-managers feeling significantly less empowered and trusted.
And an extremely useful image shared with me recently:
Organisations must act now to help employees from the black community feel empowered and trusted to make decisions at work.