New Study, Diversity & Inclusion Leaders Weigh In

Bill Proudman, co-founder of WMFDP, stresses the importance of discussing race in the workplace.

The Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), a NYC-based think tank focused on global strategies related to race, gender, orientation and culture, released a study last month called Easing Racial Tensions at Work. The report concluded that when employees of color feel they cannot talk about race relations at work, the company can suffer. (1)(2)

A total of 3,570 college-educated professionals (374 black, 2,258 white, 393 Asian, 395 Hispanic) were surveyed on their experiences with racial discrimination, being allowed or prohibited to discuss race at work, and how this affected them professionally and personally. Seventy-eight percent of black employees, 52% of Asian employees, and 50% of Hispanic employees stated they had experienced discrimination and/or fear for themselves or their families outside of work, compared to 28% of white employees. Percentages were high of those who felt isolated or alienated when race was off-limits. Black employees who felt censored in the workplace were three times more likely to plan to leave and 13 times more likely to feel disengaged. (3)

In June, as part of a pledge to support diversity & inclusion, more than 150 CEOs, including those from American Express, IBM and Wal-Mart, agreed to encourage employees to more freely discuss race in the office.

“Working with thousands of senior leaders and managers for 20 years, we consistently find that employees will not engage on these topics unless encouraged to do so by top management within their companies. The responsibility uniformly falls upon those in charge,” says Bill Proudman, CEO of diversity & inclusion consultancy White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP).

In his early work Proudman came to realize that white men were not engaging in diversity discussions, leaving the work to people of color and white women. Based on his experiences in post-Apartheid South Africa, co-founder, author and speaker Michael Welp played a key role in shaping what would become firm’s innovative approach and mission: focusing first on white male leaders when launching diversity programs. The result was a leadership development firm that created the innovative…

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