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How to Future-proof Our Companies and Communities as the Great Resignation Continues

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As we approach the two-year mark since nationwide lockdowns began as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our communities continue to face uncertainty and disruption in our daily lives. Despite this—and in fact because of this—we are seeing record numbers of Americans leaving their jobs in pursuit of better wages and working conditions.

Given these rapid changes, the growing social justice movement toward equity for Black, Indigenous, people of color, and increasing competition to recruit and retain the best talent, how can leaders and their organizations set themselves apart and combat the effects of this trend—both at an economic level and human level?

Hue, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building equity and prosperity for our communities, has developed an approach based on surveying professionals across the United States. New data from Unsafe, Unheard, Unvalued: A State of Inequity showcases the disproportionate impact seen for employees of color across several dimensions of the workplace.

By taking action to address this inequity, organizations will be better positioned for sustainable growth and success financially and from a people perspective. In addition to revealing new insights and data, the report goes on to recommend three key focus areas at an organizational level that combine to form a multi-pronged approach.

Well-Being

Building a culture of well-being and focusing on the whole person helps to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive working environment. As burnout rates continue to rise, key data points show a disconnect that must be addressed.

Nearly 90% of Americans agree they want to work at a company that prioritizes their mental and emotional health and well-being.

70% of Americans report no mental health resources or trainings are available at their employers. This is higher at 75% when reported by Black Americans and Asian Americans.

70% of Americans agree they would leave a job where their employer does not prioritize mental and emotional health and well-being. This is even higher for Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) at nearly 75%.

Nearly 1 in 2 BIPOC report feeling exhausted or burned out in the last 12 months because of their workplace—notably higher than compared to their White counterparts.

40% of BIPOC employees report having experienced workplace discrimination related to their race/ethnicity—this is four times higher than that of White employees.

Organizations must also consider financial well-being, with policies prioritizing pay and access to career growth across functions and levels.

BIPOC are 50% more likely to not be paid fairly at their level compared to White employees, with 1 in 4 BIPOC experiencing this. The rates are even higher for Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and South Asian Americans.

1 in 3 BIPOC who left their previous employer did so to increase their pay.

Nearly 30% of BIPOC employees say they have experienced job loss due to race-related discrimination—this is nearly four times higher than that of White employees.

Investment

Financial investment must be measurable and consistent over time. Leaders across organizations must seek out partners that can tangibly support diverse talent and help build pipelines of future leaders with equity in mind. This investment must not be limited to recruitment efforts—it must go beyond this and include development, support, promotion and celebration of employees.

More than 85% of Americans report their companies did not invest in recruiting racially diverse candidates, a 5% increase versus a year ago.

Nearly 90% of Americans report their companies did not invest financially in recruiting racially diverse employees.

Nearly 90% of Americans report their companies did not invest financially in promoting racially diverse employees.

Professionals in marketing, communications, advertising and design report significantly more often that their employer has not effectively invested financially in promoting racially diverse employees. More than 1 in 3 of these professionals report this. The next most often function to report this is Sales at 1 in 5.

Nearly 9 in 10 professionals in marketing, communications, advertising and design report their employer not having executive-level sponsorship or support for promotion from senior leadership.

Nimbleness

The latest data shows a disconnect between what human resources professionals believe about the workplace as compared to that of their employees.

8 in 10 HR professionals report their industry does a good job of implementing diversity-related initiatives.

8 in 10 HR professionals report the diversity-related initiatives they implement are effective.

However:

Nearly 25% of BIPOC workers are not aware of these diversity-related initiatives.

One-third of BIPOC have changed career direction or industry due to lack of mobility or career growth, significantly higher when compared to White employees. That number rises to 42% of BIPOC when it comes to those at the mid-career level (6-10 years of experience).

41% of human resource employees report there is documentation on how salaries are determined, while nearly 70% of BIPOC employees disagree.

Organizations must ensure a structure that allows them to be nimble and flexible in their approach to talent management. Policies must be developed, communicated thoroughly and designed with feedback mechanisms to ensure employees feel as though their voices are heard and valued.

Attrition at an organizational and industry level may be reduced by staying connected to employees across functions, levels, and groups—particularly for mid-career and above, Black, Indigenous, Asian, Hispanic/Latinx and multiracial employees.

By implementing these efforts, organizations can demonstrate their focus on actions rather than just words—and they can future-proof their business for the long term.

View the full report here. Support Hue here.