After numerous professional human resources and advocacy experiences, I must emphasize the need for supplier diversity programs to existing companies. Our current social and political climate is tumultuous. Viable businesses now have opportunities to mitigate risks caused by racist or sexist hiring and recruiting practices. We witnessed the loss of human life, social and economic consequences of a racist justice system. After decades of state-sanctioned lynching, murder of African Americans publicly at the hands of police we can all agree, there are more than one examples of racial prejudice throughout our nation’s history. Most people who watched the murder of African Americans on video decided to voice their disgust with political protests and demonstrations across the country. Demonstrations and the resulting social turmoil had an impact on businesses and cities where events occurred. While most people may not acknowledge racism or sexism in work environments, businesses see the effects of bias or racial disparities with negative financial outcomes. The website www.businessinsider.com published an article titled, Here’s how 4 financial experts think protests could negatively affect markets and the US economic recovery, mentions “Six states and 13 cities have declared states of emergency, and the National Guard has been called to help in 21 states and Washington, DC. In addition, at least 26 cities across 16 states have imposed curfews”. Business owners, corporations, and industries must acknowledge racism and sexism. Results of discrimination are deteriorating profits, lawsuits, damage to property, and disruptions of consumer spending. Without social and political stability people do not work, shop, travel or generate revenue for companies.
Social and economic volatility can be addressed with a simple solution. Medium and large companies which do not have inclusive environments can become better corporate citizens with the implementation of supplier diversity programs. Industry leaders and professionals forget their purpose is long-term profitability often sustained by improving communities where they conduct business. Thriving communities are great consumers of products and services companies offer. Financial hardships are most often results of historical practices which allow discrimination on the basis of race or gender. Labor Statistics 2020 report shows, “women’s annual earnings were 82.3% of men’s, and the gap is even wider for many women of color.” The wage gap for women is often explained by deteriorating workforce participation of female-headed households. Some women who are full-time caretakers for children, aging parents, and spouses do not receive the same benefits as their male counterparts, specifically salaries. PayScale.com provides data of the actual dollar amounts with a chart found on their website https://www.payscale.com/data/racial-wage-gap.
Data shows racial and gender biases are not only devastating for individuals, communities, and our country but there is a real financial cost. The consequences of discriminatory recruiting, hiring, and employment practices include legal actions or financial losses. We can all agree companies that are doing business with minority communities, have a product to sell or interests must support supplier diversity programs. Stay tuned for my next article regarding human resources and employment-focused subjects in the series, Staffing 101.