Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Juneteenth 2024: Commit to Creating an Organizational Culture of Belonging

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June 11, 2024

2024 will mark the fourth year Juneteenth is recognized as a federal holiday, and an increasing amount of employers are including it on their holiday calendars. In 2021, just 9% of employers had made Juneteenth a paid company holiday. That jumped to 33% in 2022 and rose again to 39% in 2023, according to a report by Mercer.

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:

Impact Partner Exclusive

In-Depth Training and Networking Opportunities

  • SPARK 2024 In-Person Event. This conference, Oct. 2-22 in Denver, will have a dedicated track for EDI, as well as a pre-conference session Oct. 20 that delves into how to navigate our polarized environment and sustain practices over time.
  • Advancing Equity Workshop: Fundamentals to Support Your Journey. This three-part virtual workshop, July 9, 16, and 25 and Nov. 6, 13, 20, will provide a safe environment for participants to explore their relationships with EDI, gain strategies for promoting an inclusive workplace culture, and learn about the systems that impact us all.
  • Save the Date: EDI Essentials for Supervisors. Using EDI principles as the foundation, this virtual learning series will help supervisors support and engage their teams. Sessions are July 31, Aug. 14, Sept. 18, and Dec. 4.
  • Save the Date: Translating EDI Practice Into Action. This virtual learning series is designed for staff who are leading their organizations’ EDI efforts and want to grow their understanding and application of key EDI concepts. Sessions are Sept. 9, Sept. 24, and Oct. 1.

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.