Addressing Race Culture in the Workplace

Article by Orla McKeating, Diversity Mark Business Development Executive.

To affectively address racism in the workplace, there is a long way to go. It continues to be a culture and a human rights issue. According to The Parker Review (2016) of the ethnicity of UK boards found that only 85 of the 1,050 director positions in the FTSE 100 are held by directors of colour. This can be due to bias, prejudice, discrimination and systematic issues. These inequalities show up in recruitment, promotions, pay gaps, benefits packages and where complaints aren’t dealt with adequately. Minorities are more likely to be criticised, less likely to be rewarded and the expectations are unrealistic for many global majority groups.

As well as racial equality being the right thing to do, having a more racially and ethnically inclusive workplace means that there are new skill sets available, better business performance and output. It promotes innovation and creativity through these diverse skills. A 2013 report by Deloitte concluded that when employees think their organisation is committed to and supportive of diversity their ability to innovate increases by 83%. Diverse recruitment opens up more talent for this and improves brand reputation.

So how do we create better racial culture in our organizations?

  • Gather and share data on racial inequalities and barriers in the workplace. Be mindful on communication. Share consistent messages on expectations, strategies and policies. Keep languages and literacies in mind in all communications.
  • Encourage employees from ethnic minority backgrounds networks and resource groups and a trusted space for those to share experiences and show up authentically. Manage how complaints are dealt with and ensure acceptance, transparency and formality.
  • Review recruitment process to eliminate bias and discrimination. This can start with the language of job ads, finding tools that connect you to diverse talent, ensure the interview process is inclusive for all people and that the interviewer team is diverse. Be aware of challenging your own work culture when hiring and retaining talent.
  • Embed values through culture, policies and diversity training for employees and senior management. Identify the specific issues you require, what should be included, how to make these spaces trusted and interactive to encourage collaboration and discussion and consider doing consistent training as diversity is a journey!
  • Practise allyship and listen actively to all people in the workplace without generalising ethnic and racial groups. Support staff lead groups, work together to stand against racial discrimination and injustice and continue to learn and support.
  • Hold leaders to account. This can be being clear on the needs and expectation of the workplace, ask questions and be willing to have uncomfortable conversations and follow up regularly and ask how you can support the movement.

An equitable and inclusive workplace culture is vital for business success and well-being of all people, research by Deloitte shows 94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct corporate culture is important to business success. It attracts and retains employees, increases engagement, trust and innovation and increases reputation building a successful and profitable business where all people can thrive.

Get in touch with Diversity Mark to learn more about how we can help you on your diversity journey. Email to connect and book an intro call.

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