Business Leaders have a mandate which is broader than profit and loss. The events in the US from last week have appalled us but I suggest we have an indisputable responsibility and now an opportunity to drive racial equality in our organisations, our cities, our communities, our supply chains and our client base. We can be leaders, we can be examples in this.
This is not just about speaking out. It has to be intrinsic in all we do. This is not about posting highly polished videos or vague supporting statements on equality and diversity – indeed if the organisation has little or no record of diversity and equality, these statements will quickly backfire and damage your brand irrevocably.
This is a time for real change – a time to review how our organisations work. A time to hold up the mirror to ourselves. If we say we are a ‘diverse’ organisation, can we demonstrate this? How do we operate in our local community? Do we recruit fairly and openly? How many BAME people apply, how many BAME people get jobs, and how many get promoted? Can you demonstrate equal pay? How are grievances from BAME people dealt with? Who makes the decisions in the organisation? Do your understand unconscious bias – who are the true beneficiaries of your organisation and do we really practice the values we put on all our PR platforms? Do we listen to our BAME employees, our communities who can shine a light on our practices if asked?
So many questions – and if we don’t ask these for ourselves and act on them, make no mistake, our millennials, our customers, our communities and our partners will ask them.
I propose that business can have a transformative effect – it can have a real impact in eradicating racism and delivering racial equality and now, more than ever, rebuild a strong economic recovery and success for all.
At BeOnBoard we work with businesses to create diverse talent pipelines for our future leaders. Diversity of thought is urgently needed for a fair and equal society, and it starts in the Boardroom.
We will continue our work with you and our corporate partners to ensure a more inclusive Boardroom and workplace where BAME talent flourishes.