Knowledge Center / Blog
How to Support Racially Diverse Colleagues at Work
Diversity hiring efforts are at an all-time high after the murder of George Floyd and the rise of Black Lives Matter in 2020. Yet, employees may feel that public-facing efforts to promote greater diversity do not match their internal experiences.
According to Psychology Today, code switching “involves adapting the presentation of oneself in ways that disconnect them from the cultural or racial stereotypes of their group.” Code switching allows employees to feel like they fit in, but it affects the way they dress, how they speak, and how expressive they are in work environments.
The onsite experience of a racially diverse employee may be vastly different from that of their white counterparts, but your company culture can ease that. Creating an inclusive environment allows for employees to feel valued and proud of their culture. When employees accept the differences between each other, it results in sharing of experiences and ideas and effective collaboration.
Below are some ways to support racially diverse colleagues at work:
Get to know your colleagues. Have genuine conversations about their lives and work, as it will allow you to bridge the gap between your cultural differences. You may have things in common that you were unaware of.
Understand that your racially diverse colleagues may have different customs, speak a different language, have a different communication style, etc. Learn about their personal experiences and background but be respectful and understand that not everyone will open up.
Avoid stereotyping and generalizing
Be mindful not to place individuals in categories based on a single story or narrative. Understand that one individual is not a representation or the spokesperson of a community. Remember that our experiences make us who we are, and it is not the same for everyone.
Take responsibility of your own education. Do your own research and find resources without relying on others to teach you.
Remember that diversity cannot be maintained without inclusivity, as it creates a welcoming environment in which talents, skills, and perspectives of everyone are recognized and appreciated.