Economics/Business

Racial inclusion definition/importance/advantages/initiatives/role of HR

Racial inclusion in companies aims to combat racism, promote the insertion, recognition and appreciation of professionals who suffer from the lack of opportunities caused by structural racism. Racial inclusion definition

The racial issue can be considered one of the most discussed topics of 2020 so far. Remarkable events around the world caught – and still do – everyone’s attention, regardless of social class, gender or race. 

Given the importance that is imposed, this approach, so important for society, has been widely debated again and has been gaining strength, including in the labor market through racial inclusion in companies. Understand that racial diversity is a very comprehensive subject and does not only concern the inclusion of blacks and browns, but of different races.

However, as in Brazil this is the dominant race, much more than other ethnicities such as the yellow ones, for example, our focus will be on the racial inclusion of black people in the corporate environment. Continue to understand this reality and learn about the actions that your company can adopt internally and in front of society. Good reading!

Why is racial inclusion so important to the market?

Not only in the job market, the discussion about racial inclusion is an urgent agenda in several areas, as it has repercussions in all sectors. But, unfortunately, some employers end up reproducing discriminatory behavior, bringing up the need to address the issue in the professional field. Racial inclusion definition

Rethinking racial and ethnic diversity is something so urgent and crucial that the United Nations (UN) declared the period from 2015 to 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent , with the aim of promoting recognition, justice and development of these people.

According to the UN itself, people of African descent have, recognized throughout the world, less access to quality education , health services, housing and security. The organization also recognizes that, despite advances in the fight, racism and racial discrimination continue to manifest themselves in disadvantage and inequality. 

Therefore, it is evident that companies, as the main agents of the labor market, have a key role in the construction of racial diversity in the context in which they are responsible. But you will see, throughout this article, that the work developed by companies can bring results that go far beyond the corporate world.

What are the advantages of investing in racial inclusion in companies?

It may not be immediate, but the benefits of promoting racial diversity will sooner or later be realized by everyone: black and non-black professionals, by the institutions themselves and by the job market globally. See some examples.

Multiple and diverse teams

Starting with the advantages for companies, they have the ability to assemble increasingly diverse teams , whether in culture and lifestyle, or in different skills. Organizations composed mostly of whites have the opportunity to escape from “more of the same” by hiring people who belong to the same nuclei.

Thus, when they do not make room for diversity, these companies end up hiring professionals who, many times, have the same standard of training and specialization and end up always reflecting the same behaviors in a corporate environment, failing to invest in plurality, which is so healthy for their growth. Racial inclusion definition

Increased productivity and profitability

Many companies are attentive to the inclusion of racial diversity in the labor market and have this as a basic premise for hiring partners, partners and suppliers. If a company has racial inclusion as one of its pillars, it may not hire another company that does not have black workers on its staff, for example.

In this sense, organizations that share the same vision, in addition to helping to combat structural racism, are ahead and are more likely to sign contracts, win bids, bids and, consequently, increase their internal productivity and the company’s profitability.

Professional appreciation

For professionals, when racial inclusion is promoted, opportunities for growth and development are given so that they can stand out in their careers and even reach high positions such as directors and management, or even act as business partners.

What initiatives can the company adopt to promote racial inclusion?

The racial issue directly interferes in the way institutions relate to customers, employees and how colleagues relate to each other. Therefore, it is the company’s role to invest in promoting a change in the mindset of its internal public , that is, to propose actions to transform everyone’s mentality on this subject. Racial inclusion definition

Understanding this reality and becoming aware of the need for change is the first step towards the process of introducing and developing actions aimed at racial diversity. This is an issue that has been discussed by the market for a long time, but, possibly, the scenario has never been as favorable as in recent years.

Thinking about affirmative actions — those that are specifically designed to value, promote and benefit certain discriminated groups — is another important step. Below, we have selected some that can be prioritized by your company. 

Open space for internal training of black people

Although blacks and browns make up the majority of the workforce in the country, they are the minority in leadership positions : less than 30%, according to a survey carried out by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). 

Much of this is due to the fact that most of these people belong to the lower classes and, therefore, have a low level of education and little technical training for the job market. One step that companies that are aware of this reality can take is to provide the training of these professionals internally.

For example, during a selection process, if it turns out that there are almost no black candidates with enough technical skills, but who have important soft skills for their career – such as determination, willingness to learn and leadership spirit -, why not hire them and train them according to the company’s needs?

This is a way of valuing and promoting spaces for those who are competent and just need opportunities to stand out as a professional and develop in the company. Often, true leaders end up not being identified, as they needed space to demonstrate their skills.

Allocate funds to propose feasible training

We talked about the possibility of opening space for hiring and training, but this should be carefully observed by companies so that they can make really efficient planning to put this into practice, in line with HR and finance . 

It is no use, for example, to think about proposing a certain qualification if there is not enough money to offer qualifications and training that are really useful for the employee on a day-to-day basis in the company and for him to act in the job market. 

For this, it must be evaluated, as an example, which spaces will be dedicated to study, what is the adequate infrastructure, the remuneration of the teachers involved, if the courses will be carried out at a distance and what resources are needed for this, among other important aspects so that qualifications can be carried out successfully. Racial inclusion definition

Review internal positioning and policies

The culture of a company is made up of the vision and values ​​of its owners and, mainly, by the customs, beliefs, behavior and way of relating to the people who live there. For these reasons, it is common to deal with the diversity of ideas and attitudes in the corporate environment, but not all of them are healthy.

Employees can often suffer from provocations, insults and even harassment in the company and this should be avoided as much as possible by adopting an organizational culture that values ​​respect, acceptance of diversity and appreciation of all kinds of beliefs, gender and race. 

As a measure that reflects the company’s intolerance when there is disrespect to colleagues, the company can establish norms and policies that work as propagating agents of the health of the organizational environment; subject to punishments, such as warnings, for those who violate these principles.

This is a measure that must come from the company’s top management and be promoted among all sectors, from the moment each employee joins to the daily monitoring of the good organizational climate .

What is the role of HR in this process?

Being always up to date on social issues is one of the roles of Human Resources professionals, as they show realities and identify behavioral trends that are so important for those who deal with people and with all the variables that this involves.

The role of HR in a development as relevant as that of racial inclusion in companies can be performed in different ways, in continuous activities, which involve everyone within an organization. Understand how! Racial inclusion definition

Make managers aware

Every organizational change process must start from the highest rung of a hierarchy so that others can see the example and be inspired to follow the model, right? Therefore, it is very important that leaders are trained to rethink racial culture within the institution.

This is also one of the premises of the Human Resources sector when proposing the dissemination of this type of inclusion in the company. Managers should be encouraged to think about the importance of diversity in their teams and to plan strategies that help raise the company’s level in this regard.

Propose debates and awareness actions aimed at employees

Possibly, your company has already developed something related to the fight against racial discrimination, but were these actions effectively positive and made you rethink attitudes among employees? Here, we want to suggest the promotion of in-depth dialogues , that really touch people, in some way, and not with a bias of common sense. 

In addition, HR should not face the issue with a trendy agenda, but rather a process of permanent change. All approaches in this direction must be rooted in the company’s culture and not be treated because an urgent need is identified by media appeals.

Promote the expansion of black people in selection processes

When we talked earlier about hiring similar people and more of the same, we also referred to the need to recruit differently than usual. That is, a broader form; to look for talent where, normally, it is not sought , as in less traditional and recognized universities in the market. Racial inclusion definition

Many companies prioritize professionals coming from renowned colleges and end up forgetting that there are workers and interns as competent as in other profiles of educational institutions. Therefore, if HR realizes that there are no black candidates, it should assess how and where they are advertising vacancies and think of ways to attract this audience.

Suggest the participation of more collaborators in advertising campaigns 

Several companies develop advertising campaigns that are aimed at the general public, so all pieces deserve a closer look before final approval. The more people participate in the creation – at least in a brainstorm -, the greater the chances of hearing different opinions and creating more ethical and human material.

Thus, it is up to HR to advise leaders to listen to the members of their teams; ask everyone to evaluate if any phrase or piece is transmitting racist messages or that can generate dubious interpretations. In addition to promoting democratic and integrated work, lawsuits are avoided for broadcasting offensive and racist propaganda.

Use professionals, references and successful cases of black people

When a company carries out training, regardless of the field of activity, it often prepares some motivational material for its employees. This is the ideal time to value black references, whether Brazilian or from other countries.

Think of personalities who made history in their field or who are engaged in something important for society and use them as references for teaching and inspiration. Sometimes the start for accelerating racial inclusion can start with simple examples that people previously missed. Racial inclusion definition

Extend filters in selection processes

Remember what we talked about above about the importance of the company opening space for internal training? Here, we will use a more focused approach to HR: proposing the expansion of filters in the recruitment and selection processes .

And how could that be possible? Let’s take an example: often, hiring people with command of English in multinationals is necessary and even fundamental, right? However, this is usually a major impediment to the access of black people in companies of this profile. 

However, there are specific positions that do not require communication with people from other countries and knowledge of the language is not necessary, and is only a requirement because it is a standard adopted by the company. Have you ever thought about how, in certain cases, there could be flexibility and facilitation of the entry of these people into the company?

It is worth mentioning that we are not suggesting giving up training that is essential for the company, much less hiring itself. But yes, we are calling attention to the need to reevaluate standards and policies that can be reformulated according to the reality of the market and the new purposes of the company.

Finally, understand that, in addition to the human and social issue, investing in the inclusion of ethnic-racial diversity is also a business strategy, as it makes the company a reference in adopting a culture focused on plurality. This helps in promoting your image, both to recruit the best professionals and in front of the market as a whole. Racial inclusion definition

In addition, know that the best way, in addition to affirmative action, is to bet on the gradual awareness of racial inclusion. This is a subject that can raise spirits internally, as it raises very particular issues that are deeply rooted in society.

Therefore, clarify to managers and employees about the importance of dialogue, respect for others and the need for constant learning, as this will be a continuous process within the organization. It is essential that everyone understands that there must be a partnership so that this reality is achieved and everyone gains from this transformation.

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