two people having a conversation. Both are seated, one has their hands up and open as if explaining something.

Race Matters

From a message to the Human Resources Advisory Committee

As human resources professionals, we are called upon daily to address complex, sometimes emotional and oftentimes uncomfortable circumstances. Consider how quickly we were called to respond to COVID-19. Suddenly, our focus shifted to leaves issues, setting up and developing alternative working arrangements, advising managers and supervisors about how to manage remotely. At the Medical Center, we responded to staffing challenges while ensuring healthcare workers remained at their posts to deliver exceptional patient care. 

In our roles, we focus on people and it’s imperative that we support work-life balance and the mental health and well-being of our staff, some of whom are caring for sick or vulnerable family members and homeschooling young children, while maintaining their work performance. 

Then George Floyd was killed and 8 minutes and 46 seconds of video shifted the country’s focus to racism. For a month now, we have experienced protests, re-visited other unjust and violent situations, and have witnessed leaders everywhere responding to these topics. 

As human resources leaders and professionals at UC Davis, we have a role here as well. We cannot avoid or ignore the impact of what’s going on around the world and expect our staff (or ourselves in some instances) to go about our day as usual. Additionally, we are not exempt from examining our own organization and rooting out systemic racism and bias.

Just like we did with the other pandemic, we must respond to and give guidance and support in this space. Human Resources has developed a website to assist with this work. 

I invite you to visit this website and encourage you to share it broadly with managers and supervisors who may be struggling with their role in this moment. 

Get Prepared

And colleagues, if you find that you are uncomfortable and feel like you are not prepared to address this topic, that is okay and you must now get prepared.

Here are three things you as human resources professionals can do today:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the new website and the articles, training and suggestions there.
  2. Read and re-read our UC Davis Principles of Community. If we refer back to those values, they will have a positive effect on our human resources work. 
  3. Reflect on your own departments and ask your teams (from line staff to executive leadership) for ideas about how you as a human resources professional or department can add value in this space. In other words - “How can I help?”

You are not on this journey alone and HR is looking at other ways that we can help you with training, facilitation guides and dialogue. We all play a role in ensuring the climate at UC Davis and UC Davis Health is welcoming and brings out the best in us all. 

Warm regards,

Christine Lovely
Chief Human Resources Officer
Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

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