July 14, 2020
Americans are currently navigating three crises — the coronavirus pandemic, the economic fallout accompanying it, and a national reckoning on race. To help tackle systemic racial disparities during these challenging times comes the release of the second edition of The TIME'S UP Guide to Equity and Inclusion During Crisis.
The guide offers timely and practical advice for business leaders committed to leading anti-racist companies, according to Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the nonprofit TIME'S UP, and rooting out issues within one's organization starts at the top.
"Tone of the top matters, what your leadership does. So what we say in our guide is leaders need to invest in this. They need to invest in understanding, what being anti-racist means, what being anti-sexist means, and take the steps to lead their companies in a way that really builds an inclusive environment," Tchen told Cheddar on Monday.
Beyond tone, there are many ways to demonstrate the role of leadership at this time, according to the guide. Recommendations include communicating constantly about all aspects of your business, doubling down on the company's values, and leading with empathy, transparency, and understanding.
Some additional actions encourage conversation and education, while others call for diversity reports or pay audits among employees.
"We know that women have suffered and continue to suffer from pay inequity 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act in the United States. So we know you can't really value your employees equitably if you're not paying them the same — and we know this is especially true for women of color," Tchen stated. "So now is the time to really lay out those important metrics, set out the data, be transparent about it, and hold people accountable in your organization."
Becoming an anti-racist organization is lifelong work, according to TIME'S UP, so companies need to make sure that it's part of their long-term goals. So, what is the number one way to promote an anti-racist workplace?
"Learn and then act on what you've learned," Tchen said.
Other actions companies can take from the TIME'S UP guide include owning the fight to end systemic racism at work, leading the way on anti-racist efforts while learning from your Black colleagues, and taking action swiftly to examine and dismantle racist and sexist practices embedded throughout business functions.
Leaders are navigating a new normal amid the coronavirus outbreak as well as fighting to end systemic racism at work. Some may be afraid to get it wrong, but as it's emphasized in the guide, we are all in this fight together. "Don't let that fear keep you silent because silence is a problem right now. Reach out and get help," Tchen said.