International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, that’s scheduled to be celebrated on March 21 is an excellent time to assess and improve your efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). On this day in 1960 when policemen in Sharpeville, South Africa, began firing on a peaceful protest against apartheid “pass laws” that saw the death of 69 people.
The UN General Assembly established a plan of action for the second part of the Decade of Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On this occasion, the General Assembly declared an entire week of unity and support with the communities combating racism and racial discrimination, commencing on March 21, which would be held annually in all states. Today, this day continues to be a moment to pause, reflect on — and commemorate – the lives lost and the goals achieved towards this noble cause.
Here are 10 unique ideas to celebrate International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in the workplace, aided by HR technology.
1. Share Employee Stories on Social Workplace Platforms
Businesses do not have to search far and wide to discover individual voices to highlight. People are a company’s greatest asset, and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is indeed the ideal opportunity to recognize the contributions of your team members, whose families and communities were once marginalized. Businesses may distribute internal blog posts as well as videos on their websites and newsletters. Also, they may post externally, as well, on social media. Use HR marketing tools (with employees’ permissions) to broadcast these stories as part of your employer branding efforts.
2. Volunteer or Donate to Charities that Work Toward Social Equality
Activists working for racial justice and equality are relentless in their pursuit of equal liberties for various communities. From addressing and combating police brutality to assisting people in finding employment, these nonprofits fight tirelessly, night and day, to generate opportunities for the disadvantaged.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (or, in fact, any other day of the year) is a great time to show organizational support for them, and these activities can also bring employees together. Use a corporate volunteering platform like Alaya, Millie, etc. to manage and steer these efforts and leverage it as a way to boost employee engagement and drive purpose.
3. Organize a Workshop to Raise Awareness
Encouraging workplace diversity and inclusion is the best method to help minority employees. Several unconscious preconceptions and workplace bullying against people of color, as we all understand, result from an absence of information.
Your affluent employees will become more empathetic and compassionate towards minorities if you organize diversity training on issues impacting marginalized and underprivileged communities. Make sure to collect employee feedback using HR tech tools after the event; you can even integrate the workshop into your learning management system (LMS) to incentivize the learning and make it reusable.
4. Launch a DEI Literature Book Club
Literature, whether fictional or nonfictional in any shape or form, is a symbol of dissent and triumph since it recounts true events and lived experiences. Yet, Black (or other communities who’ve witnessed historically difficult conditions) writers do not always get the same degree of exposure.
To embark on a path of solidarity, one may advocate the amazing works of classic and modern writers. On the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, you may arrange an organization-wide book reading event with novels. Did you know about platforms like BookClub, which are purpose-built to help teams drive engagement around literature?
This unique HR tech tool facilitates team reading experiences and inspires conversations around literature. It even integrates with your other HR and collaboration tools to deliver content flexibly.
5. Start a Mentorship Program for Top Talent from Minority Groups
By demonstrating your support via a mentoring program, you can foster the development of emerging Black/Latinx/Other communities’ leaders who will combat inequity in the workplace and also in their communities.
When designing your L&D program, create a separate track with the option of signing up for this mentorship. It should be available all year around, with a specific focus on leveling the playing field for the talent of all and any gender, sex, religion, or community – who’ve faced systemic bias. There are even tools like Mentor Spaces that help identify, highlight, and nurture underrepresented talent in large companies.
6. Hold a Team Fundraising Event
Existing data indicates that Black and Hispanic people living in the US are more prone to contracting the coronavirus. Exposure to surroundings that induce predisposing factors is among the potential causes of the illness. In addition, they are much less likely to have adequate health insurance and more likely to have jobs that prohibit remote work.
Therefore, on this day, you may organize a virtual crowdfunding campaign and generate funds to offer proper health insurance to individuals of color who lack this resource. Contribute to the plight of those in need by coordinating your organization’s fundraising efforts toward this cause. Platforms like Mightycause have a team fundraising feature that can make this a memorable and rewarding occasion for the entire organization.
7. Support a Business in your Locality
One way to observe International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is by promoting local businesses. This is an excellent method to contribute to the underrepresented minorities while motivating your employees and customers.
For example, you may hire a local Black-owned establishment to host a team lunch or business function. Conversely, you may offer your workers a goodie bag, including items from companies owned by African-Americans and other communities. Try out WeBuyBlack, a market for Black-owned companies, if you’re unfamiliar with any in your community or area, that also offers wholesale plans for businesses.
Importantly, top companies like Goldman Sachs, Accenture, etc., all make vendor diversity a priority, which comes into the forefront during International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Use a platform like Coupa to manage supplier diversity and get data reports on how effectively you are able to support minority-owned businesses.
8. Invite a Notable Speaker from the Community of Color
Several organizations observe International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by hiring a speaker to address their workforce. This is a fantastic opportunity for an individual — with a unique and special experience or skill set — to discuss their perspectives and experiences around race, gender, and identity.
With the right speaker, businesses can foster empathy and establish an environment for learning, inclusivity, and compassion, even if your workforce is primarily White.
If you are a major group with a considerable budget, you may choose to invite a prominent member of a community – known for his/her/their exceptional contributions – to speak or moderate a panel. You may, for instance, reach out to a prominent writer or activist to discuss race relations, civil liberties, and other vital themes related to ethnicity, religion, and diversity.
Don’t forget to broadcast the session using the intranet or virtual collaboration platforms so that your remote and hybrid workers can also participate.
9. Revisit your Rewards and Recognition Program
Recognizing employees is essential to creating inclusive workplaces. According to a poll conducted by Culture Amp and Paradigm, a feeling of belonging was the only statistic that was continuously and unanimously linked to workplace dedication, enthusiasm, pride, and referrals. In addition, the relationship between belonging and participation was significant for marginalized communities.
That’s why this action point is a must-have for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Diversification of responsible parties for recognizing individuals is one strategy to increase the number of people who receive an acknowledgment. And by combining this recognition with inclusive rewards, you may amplify its impact. Inclusive rewards take into account unique employee needs and allow them maximum flexibility to enjoy the reward (or cash out) as they, please.
Establishing a 360-degree peer recognition program at your company could have a significant impact on your inclusivity metrics. It allows employees from underrepresented groups to support each other and present a clearer picture of people’s performance.
10. Renew your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Commitments
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity to commemorate any community’s past, acknowledge its many achievements, and look forward to advancements that are still being discovered, realized, or implemented. You may promote genuine workplace growth by guaranteeing minority groups feel included, are recognized in leadership roles, and are compensated fairly.
One way to ensure this is through DEI analytics, which will clearly visualize your workforce composition and the progress made so far. HR tech tools like Circa, Dandi, CEIPAL, etc., apply people analytics to quantify the results of your commitment to DEI.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination celebrations should not be a one-off. Companies can use these ideas to continue their efforts towards DEI, across the year. You can also make use of unconscious bias training to combat the subtle effects of systemic bias in the workplace. Also, check out our article Top 14 Black Entrepreneurs in Technology for more on this topic.