Building an equitable workplace rooted in inclusivity and belonging

LinkedIn Vice President, Global Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, Rosanna Durruthy, knows that businesses have the power to enact real change to dissolve the many barriers Black professionals and other communities of color face to accessing economic opportunity.

Rosanna recognizes that it is critical for both companies and individuals to play a leading role in building an equitable future for all, and states that looking inward, as well as at the world around you to ensure you’re demonstrating the change you want to see, is the marker for initiating equitable change.

Active allyship in the workplace 


Rosanna explains that business leaders and individuals must put in the work to examine and confront not only personal biases, but systemic bias where they are supported by institutional power and dominance – “From there, we can build actionable change.”

“Women and underrepresented groups alone cannot solve diversity and inclusion problems. An ally is a person who stands up for others to proactively build inclusion in our workplace. And active allyship is a key driver to an inclusive culture, yet our research found that almost half of Black professionals (48%) do not know someone who they consider to be an ally at their place of work. This lack of allyship has consequences - over 1 in 4 (26%) Black professionals feel isolated at work, and 1 in 3 (33%) have experienced discrimination and/or microaggressions in their workplace,” explains Rosa.

Rosanna highlights that allyship must be active and actionable, not performative or contrived, and that it’s a daily practice that must be sustained through regular education and action. 

“As employees, connect with and lend support to your peers and explore where you can be creating opportunities, building professional bonds, and acting as a resource and advocate for others in your professional community,” comments Rosanna. 

The value of mentorship

LinkedIn found that over half (51%) of professionals do not have access to an internal mentorship program to begin with and of those that do, 33% of Black professionals report having a hard time finding a mentor they feel who truly understands them.

“By creating strong mentorship and sponsorship opportunities, companies can help strengthen bonds within the organization, foster more growth and help retain employees. Making this a formal, structured process within an organization helps employees see that their growth and advancement is a priority, and puts structures in place to make an impact,” says Rosanna. 

Building an equitable workplace 

LinkedIn has a vision to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce and says it has a responsibility to intentionally address equity and inclusion both within its workforce and for its millions of members and customers.

“Our increased and renewed focus on diverse candidate slates and new investments in onboarding, mentorship, and sponsorship are key focus areas for us,” explains Rosanna. 

“We've rolled out a company-wide learning curriculum and accountability framework for our people managers because we know that managers have an outsized impact on hiring and promotion decisions, coaching and developing the people on their teams, and setting the tone for an inclusive culture.”

Recognizing that leading inclusively and mitigating bias will take sustained focus, LinkedIn puts into place a strategy with three key pillars: 

  • Expectations, where they have rolled out a framework defining what inclusive leadership looks like for every manager at LinkedIn. 
  • Education, beginning with a foundational live-virtual learning course called Leading with Inclusion offered in every global region. 
  • Accountability, where they are developing processes to make inclusive leadership a requirement for success as a manager at LinkedIn.

A critical component of LinkedIn's inclusive leadership work is that it will be global from the start. The practices and principles will help build a culture of belonging for employees of many different historically marginalized backgrounds.

Annually, LinkedIn celebrates Global Diversity Awareness Month to celebrate our diverse community of professionals and focus on the work that must still be done to create an equitable workforce where all talent thrives.

PARTNER CONTENT: Developed in collaboration to support IWD's Women and Work Mission.

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