Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Retaining Yourself in Corporate America

The question of diversity in Corporate America has historically been approached from a model of getting more diverse candidates in the door. Recently, retention has taken on a larger role in diversity programming, though many companies still struggle to retain diverse talent beyond the junior ranks.

I often ask my more senior intra-organizational mentors what they like or dislike about their positions, mainly because I'm trying to figure out if I want the job one day. What many companies miss when asking the retention question about us is that retention starts with providing clear information about what it means to be retained. If they see a future for us, then they should show us the vision early and often. Further, the present lack of diversity in the upper levels of many  companies makes it even harder for young, Black Corporates to see themselves in those ranks.

Ellen McGirt recently published an article on about the retention of African-American executives. The article highlights the research of Dr. Lawrence James, Jr., "a Chicago-based clinical psychologist-turned-leadership-consultant." In his white paper Journey to the Top, Dr. James explores the key elements to career advancement for African-Americans on the executive track, which include relationship building, business acumen and self-insight.