Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

More than a Day Off: Commit to Creating an Organizational Culture of Belonging this Juneteenth

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June 13, 2023

2023 will mark the third year Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday, and an increasing amount of employers are including it on their holiday calendars. According to a new report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plan, 30% of private employers are offering Juneteenth as a paid holiday to their employees, up from just 8% in 2020.

In addition to honoring Juneteenth as a paid holiday, organizations can recognize it with dedicated time for education and connection. Some resources with ideas and inspiration include:

Although recognizing Juneteenth is one step toward promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI), organizations should look to create an EDI-enriched organizational culture in meaningful and strategic ways as well.

“It is good to see that more organizations are now closing their offices for Juneteenth, but it’s not enough. To truly move the needle, leaders should be assessing their organizations and looking for how they can support their employees and communities in more substantive ways that meaningfully address inequities,” said Undraye Howard, vice president of equity, diversity, inclusion, and engagement at Social Current.

Comprehensively addressing EDI is a powerful strategy for increasing belonging and is inextricably linked to foundational pillars of workforce resilience, including psychological safety, creating space for difficult conversations, and increasing brain science awareness.

However, if an organization doesn’t have a plan or a multilevel commitment from staff, efforts can fall short and negatively impact staff engagement and morale. In a recent report released by WebMD Health Services on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging: Uncovering What Employees are Offered, Want and Need, 62% of workers surveyed say Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEI&B) programs aren’t effective, and nearly half (46%) say the programs had failed them personally.

To help equity efforts gain momentum and have lasting impact, Social Current recommends that organizations address it at the individual, organization, and systems levels. In addition, it is critical to engage all staff as important in this work, but also create measurable goals and clear accountability.

Effective Strategies for Advancing Equity and Workforce Resilience

Given that most organizations are feeling the strain of shrinking resources, increasing costs and demands for services, and significant workforce challenges, concurrently addressing equity and workforce resilience is strategic and increases the potential for impact. Organizations must partner with staff and prioritize advancing equity as core to how they look to advance workforce resilience.

“Nurturing a positive and supportive culture that aligns with our values does not happen overnight. Learning and building capacity around the concepts and interconnected strategies for EDI and workforce resilience, developing individualized plans, and putting plans into action and course correcting along the way is the surest way to make progress toward their goals,” said Karen Johnson, director of the Social Current Change in Mind Institute. “This work requires us to be innovative, curious, and courageous, but it is doable, and our workforce is worth the investment.”

Free Resources from Social Current

How organizations can help their staff to support their coworkers of color:

In-Depth Training and Networking Opportunities

  • Workforce Resilience Webinar Series. Starting in September, this series, will offer concrete steps and strategies for supporting staff. Sessions cover topics from utilizing brain science to fostering psychological safety to creating culture and community. Register by July 14 to save with the early bird rate.
  • SPARK 2023 In-Person Event. This conference, Oct. 16-17 in Bethesda, Maryland, will have a dedicated track for EDI, Belonging, and Justice, as well as a pre-conference session Oct. 15 that delves into the intersection of equity and brain science.
  • Advancing EDI for a More Perfect Union. This three-part virtual workshop, Nov. 1, 8, 15 from noon-4 p.m. ET, will provide a safe environment for participants to explore their relationships with equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and make progress their EDI action plans with the support of experienced facilitators.

Advancing equity takes sustained commitment from leaders and organizations and at the same time, needs to begin somewhere. This Juneteenth, affirm your commitment to your workforce and advancing EDI.

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About Social Current

Social Current is the premier partner and solutions provider to a diverse network of human and social service organizations. We offer a range of innovative solutions through COA Accreditation, consultation, impact partnerships, knowledge curation and dissemination, learning collaboratives, networking, public policy advocacy and mobilization, and trainings.