We are living through incredibly tumultuous and intense times in America. Not everyone wants to have these conversations, we get that. But it’s important to understand that not talking about race carries risk and may alienate current and potential employees and clients, and negatively impact your public reputation and bottom line.

To quote our partner, diversity and inclusion PR consultant LaTricia Woods of Mahogany Xan Communications, “We have to address the elephant in the room. We have to talk about race.” 

What we’ve come to understand is that whether you choose to initiate a conversation about the racial unrest happening in America or not, you can bet that your employees are talking about it; and they are also wondering where you stand as an organization.

If you’ve put out a statement of some kind, employees are wondering, “where did that come from?” or “what’s next?” This is a discussion that should happen within the work environment to continue a movement toward racial equality and not just a moment of brief reflection and feel-good actions.

Are you ready to have that conversation? LaTricia and I spoke to business owners, HR teams and communications specialists to provide the support and guidance needed to initiate courageous conversations in the workplace. 

Watch the on-demand webinar below where we cover:

  • Why talking about race in the workplace should be a priority right now and how to do so
  • Understanding micro-aggressions and how to eliminate them
  • Brand case studies following George Floyd’s murder: how companies and brands have responded
  • Beyond statements: Creating action plans to support the anti-racism movement

During our webinar, LaTricia shared the insightful stepping stones below with our audience:

Plan: Know your Why and start with the end result in mind.

Reflect: Acknowledge your organization’s history on race and social injustice.

Set the Stage: Create an empathetic and safe space to foster open and sincere dialogue with no judgement and no repercussions.

Bring Your Listening Ear: These conversations are difficult to sit through and we are inclined to defend ourselves instead of listening, hearing and staying open to what is being shared.

Get Help: If you do not currently have a skilled facilitator on staff, bring in a third party that can objectively lead the conversation.

What’s Next: Have an action plan to move the organization forward and continue the conversation.

After the Talk 

Reflect: Take some time to reflect on the conversation. What was learned, what preconceived notions were changed, what stayed the same and what you learned about your team and how they communicate individually and as a group.

Be Committed to Making Change Happen (internally and externally): Now that you have had the critical conversation, your team expects something to happen. Don’t disappoint them.

Give Your Team a Voice: The conversation cannot be a one and done. Create a way for your team to share and help the company grow and thrive.

Tell Your Story: We know this is a topic that comes up on calls with colleagues, peers, friends and family. Share what you have accomplished and its impact on your company.

Still unsure where to begin? Abel Communications has partnered with Mahogany Xan Communications to offer a workshop, The Vault, to provide an experienced facilitator to allow leaders to safely and openly talk about race and discrimination in the workplace. This unique training exercise unlocks communications barriers, enabling the opportunity for real dialogue that will provide a lasting impact on your internal and external communications.