As Founder and CEO of Brij the Gap Consulting, I spend my days talking to organizations like yours about how they can best support and create a positive environment for underrepresented employees.
The trend I’ve seen across the board for most organizations this past year has been around recruitment. While I encourage talent acquisition efforts, especially to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment for professionals, if your organization is not spending equally as much energy on retaining your talent, you are flushing time and money down the drain.
It’s no secret these days with DEI efforts growing across several industries, underrepresented individuals, especially minority and female professionals, are not advancing within their companies at equivalent rates as their white colleagues. As a result, your top talent is seeking opportunities outside of your company. Brij the Gap has partnered with several corporations on mitigating this issue and increasing retention through providing professional development education and coaching. These resources can result in a more engaged workforce and motivate employees to begin moving more intentionally and strategically towards turning their professional vision into reality within your walls. Additionally, these efforts can lead to underrepresented employees feeling more prepared and equipped to succeed within the roles they transition into, increasing retention over time. A win-win for all.
Whether you are a DEI, HR, L&D, People Ops professional, a leader or individual contributor, I encourage you to take the following suggestions to decision makers in your organization to prepare employees, especially underrepresented talent, for roles across all levels within your company while also driving a successful DEI strategy:
Suggestion #1: Offer demographic specific career development programs.
Sure, general career advancement programs and resources can provide employees with skills and training needed for professional acceleration; however, underrepresented individuals, especially minorities and women, have challenges that are unique to them. Providing the option for these groups to participate in a career development program, workshops or coaching resources that are specific to women, Black and other minority groups will help these individuals gives them strategies that include these specific challenges.
Suggestion #2: Give leaders the education to best support underrepresented employees.
The onus cannot only be on your employees to drive their careers. Leaders need to empower and advocate for their direct reports to decision makers, show up consistently for their employees and understand the context behind their challenges around self advocacy and their lived experiences within and outside of their organization’s walls. Targeted leadership training for leaders to best support underrepresented employees is not a nice to have, it’s a must.
Suggestion #3: Offer external training in addition to internal resources.
Organizations are proudly building internal training to expand offerings that support DEI efforts. However, over 80% of underrepresented professional have expressed lack of trust in the authenticity of their organization’s DEI strategy (HBR). Most believe the quick acceleration of these steps since 2020 are likely to increase the company’s stats in the diversity category or that retention goals are focused around avoiding attrition reporting. Offering external programs, workshops and coaching from third party vendors creates more trust knowing that the facilitators and content are outside perspectives, not measured by internal pressures. External training and coaching also gives them trust to know that their transparent feedback and questions around their unique experiences within the org will not jeopardize their jobs or professional brands, a common fear amongst underrepresented individuals.
Brij the Gap is proud to offer programs, workshops and coaching for your employees and leadership teams, including resources for best supporting your underrepresented talent. Interested in learning how we’re partnering with Visa, Meta, Morgan Stanley, and several other organizations in career advancement, development and increasing retention? Email us at email@example.com to schedule time to chat. Most importantly, share this blog with your networks. Knowledge is power in making the change we want to see.