Equity Policies Need Meaningful Action
In 2020, as employers were grappling with the pandemic and renewed calls for racial justice, many responded with new policies and pronouncements. However, a global survey by Catalyst shows in white-majority countries, three-quarters of employees reported that their organization’s racial equity policies were not genuine. ‘Words Aren’t Enough: The Risks of Performative Policies’ shows that it’s not enough to announce policies or issue statements. Organizations must follow through and take meaningful action. It shows that employees are savvy and recognize when company policies are merely performative and when that is the conclusion they reach, there are consequences for organizations, including less engagement and intent to stay among employees. Three-quarters of employees reported that their organization’s racial equity policies were not genuine. Employees from marginalized racial and ethnic groups were less likely to view these policies as genuine (23 per cent) than white employees (29 per cent). Employees from marginalized racial and ethnic groups who felt their organization’s racial equity policies were genuine experienced more inclusion, engagement, feelings of respect and value for their life circumstances, ability to balance life-work demands, and intent to stay. As well, greater empathy from senior leaders was associated with increased perceptions of their organization’s racial equity policies as genuine, leading to increased experiences of inclusion among employees from marginalized race and ethnic groups and increased engagement among women.