Juneteenth: Taking Action Against Racism

By Deb Muller, on June 19, 2020

June 19 has entered the collective consciousness as Juneteenth, commemorating the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in Galveston, Texas in 1865. Today, organizations around the U.S. are remembering and taking action against racism. Today, I wanted to share what we are committing to doing at HR Acuity.

What an unexpected and emotional 2020 this has been.  We entered the new year with great hopes about the accelerating strategic role of Employee Juneteenth small flagRelations and looking forward to our in-person global Roundtable forums in April and May.  No one could have imagined the year that followed. Employee Relations professionals were put to the test as they were thrust into the spotlight with the onset of COVID-19. I could not be more proud of how the community rose to the challenge by focusing intently on how to keep their team members safe and protected.

And then we came face to face with another far more dangerous virus in our society: systemic racism, specifically those against the black community, our black colleagues and our black friends.

It has been no surprise to see the HR Acuity and the Employee Relations Community engage immediately in conversation about how we all need to be accountable, educating ourselves about what we don’t know, and pledging to learn to how to be allies and anti-racist.  Change will not happen overnight, but we can start setting goals to drive it.

From the beginning, HR Acuity has been a technology platform that helps organizations ensure employees are treated fairly and consistently. We are proud to be partnering with our current clients who have already chosen to invest in their employees in this way.  In the last few weeks, our team has reprioritized our 2020 product roadmap to develop additional functionalities to proactively identify potential biases so that organizations can take impactful and meaningful actions. Please let me know if you would like to learn more.

Here are some additional actions our team is taking. I would love to hear what your team is doing. We must tackle this scourge together.

Taking the time and resources to educate ourselves on race and racism.

We are dedicating at least 1 hour a week every week to education and action. To kickstart this we have each set aside two hours on Juneteenth to begin our exploration. Our friends at coaching firm Bravely shared a 21 day commitment racial equity habit building which provided some great places to start. Later this summer, we will bring in experts to provide additional training for and discussion with our team members.

Creating personal plans of accountability. 

I have asked each team member to find what works for them – and reminded them that if it doesn’t feel at least a little bit uncomfortable – they may need to dig deeper. 

Committing to service.

We rolled out a new benefit to all employees providing them with paid time off for volunteer service and encouraging them to seek out ways to help those with less privilege then they have.

Have the tough conversations and share best practices.  

This week we hosted a special Employee Relations Roundtable Call with our community to engage in an interactive discussion about what they are doing in their organizations, share what is working, and candidly talk about the challenges faced. We will be publishing our learnings from that session shortly. On June 26, we are hosting a webinar on Talking about Race at Work, with 4 outstanding and diverse panelists. We invite you to learn more and register here to attend.  

Donate to causes that make change.

We are committed to contributing to organizations that fight racism. Earlier this month, we participated in a fundraising ride with Peloton and Axios that supported the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  For our June 26th panel webinar, HR Acuity will donate $10 for each attendee to www.blackandbrownfounders, an organization that supports entrepreneurs of color.

Commit to diverse hiring.

As HR Acuity continues to grow, we will work with our recruiters to ensure we have diverse candidates to continue to bring different perspectives and opportunities to our organization.

All actions are just a start, and this is just 2020. Systemic change will take time to uncover and root out – but there is no question we must act.

Please let me know your thoughts and what actions you are taking today and every day against racism. You can reach me at dmuller@hracuity.com.

 

Deb Muller
Deb Muller

Deb Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, a technology solution that combines documentation, process, and human expertise so organizations can meet the challenge of managing employee relations in the modern world. Be proactive. Manage risk. Create a safer workplace.

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