Exploring the Findings: Black Gen Z want to thrive instead of just survive
Young black people in the UK are past the point of just getting through, they want to be able to thrive and succeed in the world of work.
One of the greatest understandings gained by the This is Black Gen Z report is that young black people in the UK are often too focused on surviving in the workplace and are therefore not given the space or the opportunities to thrive.
When employees are unable to be themselves in the workplace, they are being prevented for performing at their best. If their energy and focus is going into code-switching, presenting a different version of themselves or trying to fit into a culture that has not been made for them - they have no remaining energy to excel in their roles.
This is not only done to the ability to be themselves in the workplace, but also down to the support that they receive.
Only 36% of Black Gen Z feel supported to pursue their professional interests in the workplace, compared to 58% of White Gen Z. This results in low confidence in expectations around progression. And only 29% of Black Gen Z report feeling satisfied with their chances of securing a promotion, compared to 52% of White Gen Z.
These disparities are important to investigate not only for the sake of your employees, but also for the sake of your business. In workplaces where they can be their authentic selves, there are huge benefits for both Black Gen Z and their employers.
When all your employees can thrive, no matter their background, they can perform to the best of their abilities. They will feel passionate and committed about their work, and are more likely to stay with you as an employer because you have demonstrated that you care about their wellbeing and progression.
Here are some ways to help Black Gen Z thrive at your company:
Prioritise employee wellbeing & award all employee contributions equally
Employee wellbeing is a cornerstone of good company culture and a successful organisation.
It should not be a periphery concern, it should be something that your prioritise. In order to foster an inclusive work culture, it is also important for you to prioritise the specific needs of employees who are Black and/or from other marginalised groups.
This can be done through creating support groups, as well as through communication and understanding the particular barriers or issues they may face.
Similarly, in workplaces where Black Gen Z describe being able to thrive, their work and
strengths were acknowledged, valued and rewarded fairly. Therefore, ensuring that this is case within your organisation is essential for employee wellbeing. Embed these practices at all levels in your organisation to ensure Black Gen Z employees are valued as much as their peers.
Create a positive and inclusive work environment
Inclusivity and culture come from the top - therefore you need to embody the values that you want to guide your organisations, and make sure measures are put in place to encourage them.
Encourage all your employees to respect diverse cultures. This includes improving awareness of the experiences and potential challenges faced by marginalised groups, and celebrating employees from a range of backgrounds.
Black Gen Z are more likely to feel comfortable being their authentic selves – and therefore realise their full potential – in such workplaces.
Provide mentoring & opportunities for progression
Mentoring can be a brilliant option to ensure that black gen z employees feel looked after and supported in their career.
To do this, you can set up mentoring and buddying schemes for Black Gen Z employees. This provides targeted pastoral support so that Black Gen Z are supported professionally and personally by someone who is more likely to share their lived experiences.
Clear progression routes, with professional development and training, is also essential to demonstrating that you value your black gen z employees and that they have space to develop and grow at your company. It is incredibly important to involve Black Gen Z employees in activities that will lead to progression in their careers. At present, Black Gen Z do not feel they are sufficiently supported to progress at work, nor do they see themselves reflected in senior positions.
These are just some of the first steps you can take - supporting your employees is an ongoing process that you will constantly need to develop and change for the individual and their needs. However, you have to start from the beginning.
To get further recommendations on how to support black gen z talent in your workplace, click this link to get access to the This is Black Gen Z Report.