In a recent article, author Afua Hirsh points out that workplace racism continues its prevalent in Britain. Britain has similar demographics as the United States and serves as a barometer for the same challenges faced in the United States. Employers can transform a culture that embraces overt and covert racism by promoting positive racial manager employee relationships.

According to the article, Workplace racism is on the rise – we need action, not lip served, a local survey reveals that racial bullying in the workplace continues to increase. A survey of over 24,000 people revealed that 30% of the respondents have experienced workplace racism first hand.

In the United States workplace racism comes in many forms. According to a 2002 US study on race in the workplace by Rutgers University, 28% of African Americans, 22% of Hispanics and Latinos, and 6% of White Americans have experienced workplace racism. Many reported unfair treatment too.

The author continues by providing several specific examples of two extremes of workplace racism. For instance, David Cameron reported in his speeches at the Conservative party conference and the CBI that a girl was only able to get interviews after changing her name to Elizabeth. In another incident, an employee was given overripe bananas and instructed to “take them to Higg Street and give them to the Blacks.” It appears that employers are embracing the covert and overt acts of workplace racism. The only process that will eliminate workplace racism is to empower employees to promote positive racial manager employee relationships.

How does empowering employees to eliminate workplace racism impact the organization?

Empowering employees to eliminate workplace racism results in:

  • Enhancing job satisfaction
  • Raising expectations
  • Increasing quality of work
  • Increasing collaboration
  • Increasing productivity

Empowering employees enhances job satisfaction because it’s frustrating to an employee to know what’s right, but feel powerless to do anything.  Giving them some decision-making ability will decrease frustration and improve retention. When an employee is empowered, they have higher expectations. When their expectations are raised, they will rise to extraordinary levels and can become the catalyst for growth.

Empowering employees increases quality of work because in organizations that provide them with the freedom and flexibility to make a difference, employees feel empowered to deliver a higher level of quality work. Organizations that provide employees with the freedom and flexibility to be empowered will deliver higher levels of quality work

As employees are empowered and treated as vital components of the organization, they gain self-confidence in their abilities to positively influence the organization.

Employees with healthy levels of self-confidence and self-esteem are more willing to share information with others. They will feel comfortable exchanging ideas and collaborating with others in an honest and open manner. These behaviors promote teamwork and active involvement in support of the organizational goals that could not be achieved with a disjointed, non-connected workforce.

Employees who are granted the power to take charge at work feel an increased sense of responsibility, accountability, and ownership for their work. They will work diligently to meet deadlines and organizational goals. They will feel energized enough to do what it takes to get the job done and to do it right. All of these reasons fuel an empowered employee to be more productive, providing better performance results for the organization.

The benefits provided to employees through employee empowerment include increasing employee job performance and competence, improved morale, increased knowledge of workforce duties, and finally resulting in higher motivation among all employees. All in all, empowering employees creates a positive environment which is necessary to eliminate workplace racism. Organizations that desire to eliminate workplace racism will need to empower employees to promote positive racial manager employee relationships.

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Dr. Derrick L. Campbell, Ed.D.

www.positiveracialrelationships.com

PO Box 1668 Blackwood, NJ 08012

 

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Author of Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships and Promoting Positive Racial Teacher Student Classroom Relationships: Methodology

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