Following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police, the country erupted in cries for justice. Protests are happening in dozens of cities. And social media is filled with statements against systemic racism and police brutality. Even major companies and brands have spoken out against injustice. But some people feel they need to be silent on social media because of their job. How can people protesting or speaking online protect themselves from backlash at work? Tiara Budd-Ramos is an expert in diversity and inclusion. She says advocacy is now difficult to navigate. We live in a hyper-connected environment where colleagues follow our personal accounts. So, she chats with Bold TV about this unique media landscape.
Being silent or facing backlash at work
Are you afraid of work backlash if you speak out? Backlash varies from company to company. Some people aren’t allowed to speak their personal views at all. Some blocked their bosses on social media. But others have protested alongside their managers. No one wants to be silenced. So, Ramos suggests taking this time to reflect on your personal views and then evaluate your company or brand. Do those views align? Next, think of your role in the company. Do you have high visibility in the public eye? What does your silence mean for the brand? Do your words or actions have negative implications? Ultimately, not everyone will be happy with what you say or do. But decide what matters to you. Then adjust your life accordingly.
The activism behind the social media post
Many popular companies and brands are posting solidarity messages across their socials. As for superiors using their platform to speak out, see their intention behind a post. They may be talking about activism without actually supporting anything. What are they doing behind the scenes, long-term? See if they are fostering a sense of inclusivity in the workplace. Check if they are changing policies internally. And observe if they’re bringing in experts to talk to their employees. This is a hyper-connected world where people are weighing your words and actions. Backlash comes no matter what. But what will you stand for?