BizLibrary has announced the release of a new Expert Insights series: Freedom from Racism with Marshall Fields. Marshall Fields has worked in learning and development for fifteen years, but his experience as a “communication broker” between different cultural communities is what truly makes this course stand out among others in DEI education. Marshall serves on the Racial Justice and Equality Commission in Lexington, Kentucky and hosts the PCHATP podcast about positive communication and thought processes. He is a certified Life Coach, an author, and acted as a community liaison for the award-winning project “I Was Here.” 

Expert Insights: Freedom from Racism is a 2-part Expert Insights series. The first part of the series is meant to give learners the necessary context and skills necessary to participate in meaningful discussions about race, equality, and equity. Marshall notes that “learning how to discuss [the past and its impact on the present] will be like learning a new language. This is largely due to the divisive and incomplete history which has created language barriers when discussing the past or echoes of it.” 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and trainings are one way to directly combat racism in the workplace and in the world around us. It’s not only good for society – it’s good for business, too. A recent study by Development Dimensions International found that organizations with above-average diversity are: 

  • 11x more likely to have high quality leaders overall 
  • 10x more likely to have a strong leadership bench 
  • 4x more likely to have leaders that are responsive to changing customer needs and perspectives 
  • 3.2x more likely to engage and retain top talent 
  • 2.4 times more likely to outperform their peers financially 

Despite this, the DDI report also found that many organizations are rapidly backsliding on their DEI promises. Compared to DDI’s survey conducted in 2020, the more recent study has seen an 18% decrease in the number of leaders who endorse their company’s overall DEI efforts. There was also a 5% decrease in the number of organizations that are currently running DEI programs. DDI theorizes that it may be because expectations for DEI programs are high, however, it could also be that companies are placing their focus elsewhere in preparation for difficult economic times.  

However, racism and inequality does not stop in the hard economic times. Therefore, the battle for inclusion, diversity, and equity must also go on. DDI’s research also showed that quality DEI programs had a significant impact on the number of diverse leaders. Organizations with strong DEI programs were: 

  • 1.9x times more likely to say that their leaders represented diverse demographic backgrounds 
  • 1.8x more likely to say that inclusion of different perspectives is a strong component of their culture and values 
  • 1.7x more likely to say their organization recruits and promotes from a diverse candidate pool. 

It’s important to invest in strong DEI programs and education so that all employees can take advantage of learning how to communicate with the world around them – and their coworkers – more effectively. Marshall Fields’ Expert Insight Series: Freedom from Racism is meant to give all learners a new common ground on which to speak about racial equality and how to care for all people.