More brands and businesses are becoming vocal in the movement for racial justice and equity.
Some are taking it a step further, pledging donations and changes in their own practices to address workforce inequity.
Adidas, which also owns Reebok, is pledging to increase the number of black and Latino employees it hires by the end of next year, saying at a minimum 30% of all new positions.
The NFL also made recent specific pledges to hire more people of color in front office and coaching positions. It also made an immediate rule change that future head coaching positions need to include at least two interviews with external, minority candidates.
“There's good evidence (that) both increasing the quality of a climate in the workplace and increasing the diversity of the workforce tends to be associated with better outcomes, especially in companies that are trying to be innovative in their production process, marketing and the like,” said Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, UMASS equity and inclusion expert.
There are proven methods for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. They include setting clear measurable goals, being transparent, and companies holding themselves accountable.
Experts say it’s not only good for employees and business, but this shift in speaking up and change by industry leaders can spark even more influence.
“You could imagine firms saying I’m not going to support the reelection campaigns of candidates who are making racist statements or stoking racial divisions,” said Tomaskovic-Devey. “Again, that’s putting your money where your mouth is.”
Experts say another practical way to invoke change in the workplace is to treat complaints of bias, unfairness or discrimination as managerial problems to be solved, not legal issues.