Support Black Employees During The Pandemic

Supporting Black employees during the pandemic is critical to diversity efforts.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to cause unprecedented hardship in almost every almost every facet of our lives. However, minorities bear the brunt of the hardship.

 Mckinsey’s analysis   recently revealed that Black Americans are almost twice as likely to live in counties at the highest risk of health and economic disruption. The same analysis shows that Black Americans are 39% more likely to face reductions in hours or pay, and temporary or permanent lay-offs, due to the pandemic.  

The pandemic’s sharpening of centuries-old disparities, is a reminder of why it is essential to develop and maintain equitable workplaces. 

Here are the four tips on how can you provide supportive and safe workspaces

Prioritize Collaboration

Collaborative work spaces increase belonging in the workplace.   Collaboration helps to boost communication amongst co-workers. Develop spaces and opportunities that permit collaboration on various projects between people of different backgrounds and racial identities.

Ask Your Employees How You Can Help

To genuinely understand what your employees need, ask them what your organization can do to better support them.   Be explicit when offering support,  to avoid employees getting the wrong impression and/or considering your offer of support to be disingenuous.  If you believe that  one on one conversations may be too intrusive, consider using  surveys to identify your employees’ needs. 

Flexibility and Days Off

Analyze current assignments, activities, and objectives. Consider assigning less labor intensive projects to employees who may require more flexibility and/or days off.  Work can much more demanding than normal, during the pandemic, so try to adjust shifts and schedules with the unique needs of employees.

Evaluate Mental Health Benefits & Consider Providing Support Programs

Audit your current leave policies and whether the organization’s measures and tools allow aid for grieving employees and those experiencing trauma. Review your Employee Assistance Programs and whether counselors and in-network therapists are available and informed. 

Examine your budget and possibilities and consider expanding mental health benefits and resources for employees and their families.

By providing support to your employees during the pandemic, you ensure belonging in your organization, and,  help to ensure employee loyalty and longevity.