There are some striking research findings regarding the experiences that many people of color have in their workplaces. Though one should be careful not to make broad generalizations as a result of these findings, it is important to understand that many people of color have had negative experiences in their past or current workplaces as a result of their race or ethnicity. These experiences can influence how some individuals perceive workplaces in general.
In 2002, the Center for Creative Leadership completed a survey of 330 individuals' perceptions of their workplace. Approximately half of the respondents were white and approximately one-third of respondents were African American. The remaining respondents came from other racial and ethnic backgrounds. The survey findings uncovered the following differences in how African Americans and whites perceive the effects of racial issues on their workplaces:
More than 63 percent of African Americans said that race is a moderate to great source of tension in their workplace. Only 26 percent of whites believed that race was a moderate to great source of tension in their workplace.
Almost twice as many African American respondents as white respondents said that dealing with race-related issues at work was painful or difficult.
Sixty-seven percent of African Americans rated their workplaces as being moderately to very sensitive to racial diversity issues while 82 percent of whites felt that their workplaces were moderately to very sensitive to racial diversity issues. (Center for Creative Leadership, "Leading in Black and White Poll Results." November, 2002 e-Newsletter.)
Not every person of color who works at an organization experiences the same issues. However, the fact that some studies about the experiences of people of color in the workplace found these trends is a good reason to look seriously not only at how an organization recruits staff of color but also how it retains staff of color.
Complete Developing an Action Plan for Personnel.
Strategies and Accomplishments of Organizations Doing Inclusiveness Work
The Trustees of Reservations (an environmental group) grapples earnestly with racial and ethnic inclusion, as reported in an article in the September-October 2011 edition of Audubon Magazine.
Visit Related Links and search under "Staff Diversity" for more on this topic.
Katherine Pease (http://www.katherinepease.com/) is the primary author of the Inclusiveness At Work workbook and a consultant providing specialized services to nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. She is also author of "Job Satisfaction and Perceptions of Race-Related Discrimination and Conflict in Nonprofit Organizations."
- Step 1: Creating Structure
- Step 2: Consultants/Training
- Step 3: Making the Case
- Step 4: Gathering Info
- Step 5: Creating a Blueprint
- What is a Blueprint?
- Using Your Data
- Mission and Values
- Board of Directors
- Organizational Culture
- Marketing and Community Relations
- Programs and Constituents
- Fundraising and Membership
- Writing Your Blueprint
- Finalizing Your Blueprint
- Approving Your Blueprint
- Step 6: Implementing the Blueprint
- Sample Documents
- Next Steps for Your Organization