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How the Murder of George Floyd Changed Corporate America Forever | Kanarys

Kanarys Staff


America and its workforce were changed after the murder of George Floyd almost exactly one year ago. In the last 365 days, we have seen countless companies making statements promising to prioritize DEI, make donations to organizations dedicated to promoting racial equity or fighting police brutality, engage DEI consultants, and promise to just do better when it comes to DEI. 

While we have seen steps in the right direction we still have a long way to go and have yet to see many of last year’s promises fulfilled. Changing systems is hard work and doesn’t happen overnight, but our hope is that this past year helped lay more groundwork for real change.

In the work we do with our company partners, we’ve observed nine specific ways the murder of George Floyd has impacted DEI in the workplace:

  1. DEI has the CEO’s eye 

    • Clients are asking that we present the DEI data we collect and analyze to their senior leadership and CEO's. They are personally involved and invested and willing to hold the organization accountable to measurable KPI's. This is aligned with a recent report that found 61% of HR leaders report directly to the CEO of the organization they work for.

  2. DEI pros and consultants want to be data-driven.

    • Whether it's the company's head of DEI or the DEI consultant they hired to conduct workshops, focus groups, and training, all DEI pros want their activities and strategies to be data-driven. A year ago, a one-time generalized training checked the box. Now, DEI pros want to first understand who they are talking to in order to deliver custom, resonate programs that can be measured and ones that tie into broader strategies for greater impact.

  3. Companies are willing to ask hard questions to get actionable insights. 

    • Companies are now willing to ask employees to self-identify in various ways. They realize this is done best through a trusted third party that will keep their employees anonymous and safe while mitigating their own risk. They need to know the information to create systemic change and more equitable workplaces. They do not, however, want to own the information.

  4. Vendor diversity matters. 

    • Kanarys is Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified. Many companies are realizing that they have little diversity among vendors. They also realize asking employees to talk about DEI issues with a company partner that is not minority-owned can be contradictory and does not "walk the walk.” 

  5. Companies have created D&I councils. 

    • These are the passionate change agents within the organization but don't necessarily have the training and skillsets to move the needle but willing to do the work. At Kanarys, we often work with these teams by providing training and resources to equip them as change agents.

  6. DEI jobs are plentiful. 

    • There has been an explosion in the number of Chief Diversity Officer and other diversity leadership positions, which signals an awareness of the need for internal expertise and consultancy. In fact, Chief Diversity Officer was the fastest-growing C-Suite title of 2020 - growing 84%. Additionally, in June 2020, job posts for diversity roles were up 4.3 times the amount that were posted in June of 2015 and diversity roles are up 71% over the last five years, according to LinkedIn.

  7. Employees are more vocal about what’s not working at work. 

    • They've been silent before but something about George Floyd's murder ignited a fire in BIPOC employees who are more vocal and seeking greater agency in their organizations than before. 

  8. DEI is a priority for younger generations and underrepresented workers, and the workforce will shift to adapt to this growing need. 

    • The future of our workforce places DEI at a much higher priority than previous generations, and a recent survey showed that 83% of Gen Z candidates said that a company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is important when choosing an employer. And, it’s not just young job seekers - 95% of Black Americans also believe it’s important for companies to promote racial equity, according to a recent Harris Poll survey done with JUST Capital. If companies want to attract young job seekers, Black, and underrepresented talent, they need to meet this growing need. 

  9. National Advocacy Groups are gathering DEI data about underrepresented employees. 

    • Kanarys has partnered with a number of national advocacy groups like National Urban League, Prospanica, and Ascend to study what has never been measured before - the experience of underrepresented employees in the workplace. In order to bring about systemic change and help create more equitable workplaces, these groups that are designed to help underrepresented employees succeed in the corporate setting found it is critical to gather this data and give their members a voice in Corporate America. In the next few weeks, Kanarys will be able to share data and insights revealed through these partnerships.

Kanarys is Your DEI Champion

At Kanarys, we are the diversity, equity, and inclusion people with the data-driven approach. Since 2018, Kanarys has aimed to change the world by creating equitable workplaces where everyone belongs. We guide your organization’s DEI path every step of the way with courage and collaboration. It starts with data, analytics and insights, and continues with recommendations and implementation. 

Our mission, as your partner and champion in the ever-evolving DEI journey: Help you understand what it takes to foster lasting, systemic change today and for tomorrow. Because when you succeed with DEI, your employees can thrive—and so can your organization.

    Overall Benefits & Policies
    Racial Equity/Diversity

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