Forging Strategic Relationships in the Workplace as a BIPOC

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Handshake between two persons of color.

Forging Strategic Relationships in the Workplace as a BIPOC

The American workforce is becoming increasingly diverse. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), most new hires in 2019 that were between the ages of 25-54 were people of color. In addition, an increasing number of diverse employees identify as LGBT, “with those in younger generations more likely to self-identify.”

Despite diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives being implemented in workplaces across the nation to keep up with the changing landscape, BIPOC are still struggling to occupy executive or leadership positions.

In the nonprofit sector, for example, findings from a 2017 study found that BIPOC aspire to occupy positions of leadership, but that they are not matched with opportunities to take on these roles (Thomas-Breitfeld and Kunreuther 2).

“Partnering with like- minded individuals and organizations is essential for creating a more diverse, inclusive, creative and qualified workforce necessary in today’s competitive, globalized world.”

One strategy to position yourself strategically for promotions and other career-boosting opportunities is to build and maintain fruitful relationships with individuals in your professional network. The Corporate Learning Network posits that “partnering with like- minded individuals and organizations is essential for creating a more diverse, inclusive, creative and qualified workforce necessary in today’s competitive, globalized world.”

Here are 3 mechanisms that can support you in your journey to building key partnerships:

1. Identify Diverse Mentors

“It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” While this may be a trite adage, its meaning still holds true. Learning from individuals who you share common interests and goals with is key to successful career planning and building a circle of trusted, supportive relationships.

2. Join Employee-Led Resource Groups

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are groups that provide a space for employees who share similar interests and qualities (e.g. gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, etc.) to network and build relationships inside their organization. As a BIPOC, participating in these groups can support you in building relationships that are based on your commonalities, and can possibly help you to find career opportunities that are right for you.

3. Asses a Job’s Opportunity for Growth

Before accepting a job, BIPOC professionals should assess the cultural fit of the organization they are joining in order to gauge the type of working environment they will find themselves in.

This is where Sojo Signal comes in. The platform helps current employees, job-seekers, and even interns learn more about company culture, work-life balance, and diversity in the workplace to share the truth about what their experience was really like, good or bad.

Works Cited
Sokolowski, Christine. “Why Partnerships are Essential to Advancing Diversity &amp; Inclusion.”
Corporate Learning Network, 2 Jan. 2020,
https://www.corporatelearningnetwork.com/design-innovation/interviews/why-partnerships-are-essential-to-advancing-diversity-inclusion. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.
Thomas-Breitfeld, Sean, and Frances Kunreuther. “Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap.” Race to Lead, 2017,
https://racetolead.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/RacetoLeadNonprofitRacialLeadershipGap-3.pdf. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.
“The Future Workforce: More Diverse than Ever.” AAUW, n.d.,
https://www.aauw.org/resources/article/future-workforce-diverse. Accessed 20 Apr.2021.
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