Businesses have significant assets and power and, therefore, play a critical role in contributing to a society that allows everyone to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. For everyone to prosper, companies need to pay attention to those stakeholder groups that have been historically marginalized, especially communities of color who will soon be the majority population.
Many of our clients approach us for support with their strategic planning only to realize that they have not yet sufficiently reflected on systemic barriers and mindsets within the company or industry that could undermine strategy efforts to advance racial equity and justice. Too often companies’ racial equity efforts are siloed within Diversity and Inclusion teams or limited to ad hoc initiatives.
We know how that feels. Reflecting on our 20-year history, we recognize that we have fallen short when it comes to promoting equity. Starting in 2013, we have been on our own journey, reckoning with how racism and other forms of oppression have manifested in our culture and work, learning from the work of others, and redefining what expertise, experience, and dispositions are necessary for both FSG and our clients to authentically pursue equitable systems change.
FSG works alongside expert partners like PolicyLink, a national leader in racial equity and justice, to engage C-suite-level leaders with a data-driven and human-centered approach to understanding the racist structures that drive inequity.
In partnering with us, we seek to have our clients experience the benefits of building an inclusive environment with groups that have been most impacted by systemic barriers. Through interviews, establishing external advisory councils, and bringing diverse internal teams (e.g., frontline workers, mid-level managers, etc.) into the process, we help clients shift mindsets, power, and relationships in order to sustain and support a client’s ongoing journey after we leave.
Taking the time to clarify and build shared understanding of how justice and equity will manifest in your work will strengthen your collective capacity, motivation, and endurance to create and implement strategies for equity and justice across all of your initiatives and program areas.
We Offer Advisory Services to Help Companies
- Identify challenges and opportunity areas: Beyond HR policies and improving diversity and inclusion within the workforce, where else in the company can we address racial equity (e.g., redesigning products and services, marketing, operations, policy, and advocacy)?
- Develop enterprise-wide racial equity strategies: How do we strengthen how we live into our company’s purpose with a focus on race that spans verticals and functional areas?
- Identify shared value opportunities to advance equity: How can we tackle specific commercial opportunities to advance racial equity within or across business units?
- Executive education and coaching: How can we help our leadership understand how racism affects our ability to live into our statements and compete in markets?
- Refreshing corporate philanthropy strategies: How can we ensure that our corporate giving money is actively supporting communities experiencing racism?
- Transform talent management: Through Talent Rewire’s peer learning community and resources such as the Opportunity Navigator, we help employers adopt innovative talent practices that center equity and inclusion, increase access to opportunity for frontline employees, and generate business value.
In addition to our work with individual companies, we lead field-building efforts and invite companies to partner with us on our current projects:
- Launching an industry-wide collaborative movement. In partnership with JUST Capital and PolicyLink, we are helping the industry develop high-aspiration standards for an equitable corporation, based on our CEO blueprint for racial equity.
- Conducting actionable research that articulates how companies have advanced racial equity through inclusive products, services, and operational practices.
A Set of Core Values Guides This Work
We bring a spirit of humility, transparency, and a learning orientation to our corporate racial equity work. Partnership with other experts is essential and we seek to build off previous and existing contributions to the field. FSG takes a targeted universalist approach to center on those who are most disproportionately affected, recognizing that successful strategies can benefit all populations. We truly believe in the power and opportunity that companies bring to advance racial equity.
Snapshot of Consulting Engagements with Companies to Advance Racial Equity
- The Walmart Foundation: FSG conducted research to highlight the opportunities for employer practice and behavior change that advances people of color in frontline positions in the services sectors—retail, hospitality, food services—and beyond.
- Global Biopharmaceutical Company: FSG supported the creation of a health equity framework to guide the company’s commercial operations and role within the health ecosystem. This includes critical organizational capacity building work to develop a shared understanding of what “health equity” really means and what it would mean for the company to become intentionally antiracist.
- Genentech: FSG collaborated with Genentech’s Giving Team to develop a comprehensive health equity strategy, including demonstrating how the philanthropic efforts of the Giving Team might intersect with and advance the work of business units. Our team helped the client to understand how racism was a root cause of inequities across therapeutic areas.
- Large National Bank: FSG worked with the bank’s corporate foundation to develop a new strategy that moved from a siloed focus on diversity giving to integrating a racial equity lens into all of the foundation’s focus areas. This work involved an intentional learning process in order to build capacity for meaningful racial equity centered philanthropy.
Research and Tools
- The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity. Developed in partnership with PolicyLink and funded by the Ford and W.K. Kellogg foundations, The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity highlights examples from 12 leading companies such as Gap Inc., PayPal, and Cigna, who are driving innovation and growth by advancing racial equity.
- Health Care and the Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity: How Advancing Racial Equity Can Create Business Value. A follow-up to The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity and developed in partnership with PolicyLink, this report focuses on actions taken by companies in the health care sector to create business value by addressing the unique challenges faced by communities of color.
- Financial Services and the Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity: How Advancing Racial Equity Can Create Business Value. A follow-up to The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity and developed in partnership with PolicyLink, this report highlights specific action steps leading companies in the financial sector have taken to create business value by using credit, savings, and investment products to address the unique challenges faced by communities of color.
- Reckoning, Repair, and Change: How Business Leaders Can More Effectively Advance Racial Equity and Competitive Advantage. As corporate leaders pledge their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, they need a way to fulfill their promises. Designed for CEOs and corporate executives, this primer offers practical tools and examples to help companies transform pledges into action.
- Advancing Frontline Employees of Color: Innovating for Competitive Advantage in America’s Frontline Workforce. Written in partnership with PolicyLink, this paper identifies 23 evidence-based practices for advancing racial equity and fostering working environments where all people feel valued and can thrive.
- Change Your Corporate Mindset
- Change the World—for Whom? Why Addressing Racism Must be a Top Corporate Priority (Fortune)
- A CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity
- The 10 Commitments Companies Must Make to Advance Racial Justice (HBR)
- Corporate Silence and Anti-Racism
- How Companies can Advance Racial Equity and Create Business Growth
- Don’t CEOs Understand That Racial Inequality Is Bad for Business? (Fortune)