As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause unprecedented impact to business, employers, and employees, human capital leaders continue to face both short- and long-term challenges. Since March, i4cp has held a weekly series of calls to address the unique diversity and inclusion issues raised by both the COVID-19 outbreak and the social unrest following the murder of George Floyd. Each week, hundreds of decision makers join these calls to hear from their community and access the latest research from i4cp's Coronavirus Employer Resource Center.
Continuing its focus on racism among organizational
employees in the second of two i4cp Diversity & Inclusion Action Calls, the
format of the July 28th virtual gathering also centered on comments
and discussion from the approximately 100 inclusion leaders and other business
professionals in attendance.
The interaction was moderated by Jacqui Robertson, i4cp
Chief Diversity Officer Board Chair and call leader, along with i4cp Creative
Director and CDO Board research lead Eric Davis. A recap of the preceding
week’s call reiterated questions for attendees to keep in mind and summarized
the previous discussion. Part II of the conversation began with new research
data and sparked interactions around two instant polls.
Key Ideas Shared Today:
pulse survey results show organizations launch investigations into
employees’ racist comments on social media. Offering a pre-close
glimpse into a currently fielded i4cp pulse survey, Davis reported that
53% of responses received thus far confirm that companies investigate
instances of employees posting racist comments or content on their
personal social media accounts. Based on those investigations, reported
consequences range from required education to suspension, termination, or
Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%)
reported having no organizational policy addressing such postings, and 11% said
their companies’ zero-tolerance rules meant termination for workers who express
or endorse racist views.
#1 examined company policies on employees’ expressions of views contrary
to stated organizational values (such as racist comments/content).
The greatest proportion of attendees
responding to the poll (53%) said their policies were part of their
organizations’ employee codes of conduct, and 39% confirmed the policies
applied to conduct both at and away from work. About one in five said
their policies focused on compliance with anti-discrimination laws and not
Subsequent conversation focused on a number
of challenging ideas:
- Rules that are mandated
but not enforced (such as masks for customers in business establishments)
- Similarly, the notion
that organizations say they don’t tolerate specific behaviors, but look at
the circumstances in which transgressions occur. In some cases, violations
offer opportunities to educate and enlighten employees in ways to be more
inclusive. In such instances, rules may be viewed as starting places for
positive opportunities instead of hard-and-fast mandates for termination
or other negative consequences.
- One organization
represented on the call created guidelines for global employees to ensure
respect in cross-cultural interactions. Issuing formal policies about such
matters provides a supportive foundation for HR when addressing
it comes to employee behaviors that clash with organizational values, some
companies struggle to address difficult questions. Among the challenges
that call attendees expressed:
- How do policies for
upholding organizational values balance at-work or work-function
violations versus occurrences that take place during off-time in
employees’ personal lives or on their personal social media?
- How does enforcement of
rules vary based on an individual’s role in an organization? For example,
are senior executives or individuals with high-value specialties treated
differently when it comes to values conflicts? If so, what effects does
special treatment have on organizational culture?
- At what point do companies
become legally obligated to address behavior that conflicts with values
#2 explored the ways in which organizations enforce adherence to their
enforcement methods does your organization apply to deal with employee
expressions of viewpoints that run counter to stated company values (i.e.,
racist comments or content)?
Top responses :
is counseled (or notified) that continued expressions could (or will)
result in termination – 68%
reprimand and document – 68%
is counseled that continued expressions could adversely impact their
career advancement opportunities – 40%