by Allyson Ward Neal
Recently, the realities of racial inequality at work have been magnified. In-depth reports and statistics reveal a grim reality for Black professionals who have suffered in the workplace. No one wants to be a part of harming the careers or future of others. And many of us seek purpose in our work that will make life better for everyone. Below are some tips on how we, as communications professionals, can make a positive impact toward racial equality at work. They include:
- Encouraging Black employees to speak up through encouraging communications
- Creating opportunities for all employees to ask questions and making the channels visible
- Becoming educated about unconscious bias and sharing that knowledge with others
- Familiarizing ourselves with the Black Employee Network, and volunteering to help them with communications for key campaigns that can further promote racial equality
Get out of your comfort zone
Everyone has unconscious bias that includes preferences and prejudices that we don’t realize we have. These biases often come from our background and aren’t necessarily apparent in our day-to-day interactions with others. However, they can inform the decisions we make about the people with whom we surround ourselves.
Seeking to get out of our comfort zones by socializing and networking with people of diverse backgrounds, particularly Black people, is a great way to challenge our unconscious bias. It also helps us to build relationships and make the workplace safe for Black people and other ethnic minorities to share their experiences and voice concerns.
Remain mindful and take positive action against bias
Change is sometimes difficult and requires discipline and commitment. Some ways to remain vigilant in a commitment to diversity include:
- Infuse inclusiveness into your communications, both internally and externally.
- Make inclusion a regular part of your communications.
- Volunteer to mentor a Black communication professional.
Becoming familiar with our biases might be an uncomfortable process, but it is necessary to create a fairer and more inclusive work environment. And when we accomplish that, we start developing workplaces where professionals of all backgrounds can thrive.
Neal is the author of a Linkedin article series titled “Healing the Black Professional.” Visit her LinkedIn Articles page to find it and more.
Allyson Ward Neal, MA, (IABC Houston) is an experienced communications leader who uses digital strategies to achieve the corporate goals of major corporations, particularly in the energy sector. She has served companies such as bp, CHRISTUS Health, and Chevron Corporation. She has presented an IABC Southern Region SPARK presentation and at an IABC World Conference. She’s also served on the board of IABC Houston and the IABC International World Conference Program Advisory Committee. As the Social Media Director for IABC Southern Region, Neal collaborates with the Email Director and VP, Communications to devise and execute marketing and communication strategies. She is also changing the status quo by publishing family-oriented books that embrace diversity. She recently appeared on IABC Houston’s The Business Communicators podcast where she discussed Why Representation in Children’s Books Matter.