Advancing Racial Equity in the Workplace – SHRM – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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​Racial bias in the workplace is annually costing U.S. businesses $54.1 billion in increased absenteeism, $58.7 billion in lost productivity and $171.9 billion in turnover, according to research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Black employees are most at risk for experiencing bias, followed by Latino and Asian-American employees. However, even employees who don’t directly experience bias are negatively impacted by observing others being treated unfairly.

“There has been a collective awakening as more people become aware of how pervasive discrimination and bias are,” said Evelyn Carter, director of training and people development at Paradigm Consulting, which is based in San Francisco and focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). “We are at a pivotal moment when organizations must answer an important question: How will they restructure their workplaces to truly advance racial equity and inclusion?”

HR has a pivotal role to play in answering that question.

“Until there are systemic changes in the way our workplaces are structured, nothing will change,” said Dorianne St. Fleur, a workplace inclusion strategist in San Jose, Calif. “All people processes, such as compensation, hiring, promotion and performance reviews, must be audited, reconfigured and measured regularly to ensure there is no disparity based on race.”

[Want to learn more about HR’s role in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion? Join us at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.]

Leadership Challenge

The SHRM research found that racial inequity is often perpetrated by supervisors, managers and senior leaders.

“Anti-racism is a core leadership competency,” said Tim Cynova, co-CEO of Fractured Atlas, a Ne


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