January 10, 2023

5 ways your L&D strategy can better support Black women

This year, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day moved from August 3rd to September 21st, meaning the wage gap has widened and Black women make only 58 cents for every dollar a white man makes.

This is in addition to the data that shows for every 100 men promoted to their first manager role, only 58 Black women receive the same advancement.

In order to achieve pay equity and see more Black women in leadership positions, companies must re-evaluate how they are investing in their Black women employees’ professional growth.

Our team at Perfeqta outlined 5 ways your learning and development strategy can better support Black women at your organization.

Talk about career goals and create a plan for advancement.

Oftentimes, Black women feel they’ve hit a glass ceiling, where they obtain a management-level position and don’t recognize they can continue moving up from there.

As a leader, have regular conversations with your employees about what career growth looks like. Here are 7 questions to help start the conversation during 1:1s or performance reviews:

  1. Where do you see yourself growing within the organization?
  2. What does your ideal workday look like?
  3. What skills would you like to continue working on?
  4. What strengths do you feel you’re unable to use in your current role?
  5. What kind of projects would you like to be more involved in?
  6. Are there any learning opportunities you’d like to pursue?
  7. How can the company better support your professional growth?

Prioritize Black women’s mental health.

Black women face both racism and sexism and experience a wider range of microaggressions than women overall. This is in addition to the stress and burnout they experience due to constant traumatic events and the burden they may feel to put these emotions to the side in order to focus on work.

In order to prioritize Black women’s mental health, company leaders can:

  • Provide wellness benefits, like therapy and access to other mental health resources.
  • Give them space to grieve when traumatic events occur.
  • Call out microaggressions and provide all team members with resources and training on how to be allies and bias interrupters.
  • Invest in a DEI strategy to make your workplace more safe and inclusive.
  • Check in often and ask how your company can better support their well-being.

Recognize their performance and compensate them accordingly.

Research shows Black women are more likely to have to provide evidence for their competence and have their judgment questioned in their area of expertise. It’s essential to create a recognition program to help increase Black women employees’ visibility and show your appreciation for their work.

Gift cards and bonuses are great, but it may also be necessary for your organization to conduct a pay audit in order to uncover any pay discrepancies and make sure Black women are compensated for work they do outside of their full-time roles, such as leading DEI or Employee Resource Groups initiatives.

Provide learning and development stipends.

Once you talk to your Black women employees about their career goals, you can also provide them with a stipend to spend on courses, trainings, conference tickets, or other learning opportunities.

You can also sponsor their membership in a career development program like Career Chasers, where team members can attend monthly masterclasses on skill-building, networking, becoming an effective leader, and more.

Next, you must hold them accountable. During performance reviews, ask how they're spending their stipend and offer to help find any courses or training materials.

Provide them with Career Coaching from other Black women.

Fifty-four percent of Black women say they are often “Onlys” at work, meaning they are the only Black person or one of the only Black people in the room. This can lead to isolation, increase burnout, and dissatisfaction with your company.

Connecting your Black women employees with Certified Career Coaches can provide them with a safe space to talk about their experiences in the workplace and career goals while working together to create a roadmap to achieve those goals.

Learn more about building a supportive, engaging, and inclusive company culture.

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