Updated: Aug 11
As businesses worldwide move for the first time to set out properly and publicly how they recruit, retain and professionally develop BAME staff, more employers than ever are considering their own business practices around diversity, inclusion and wellbeing. To those unfamiliar with the Black Lives Matter movement, which originated in 2013 following the acquittal of George Zimmerman for shooting Trayvon Martin, it can seem a tough and uncompromising movement demanding rights and levels of equality that many organisations haven’t considered or had the facilities to offer before.
However, it need not: now is the time to embrace the movement and learn from it, bettering your company, and your workforce, in the process.
Benchmark Where You Are Now
The Pull Up For Change social media account is a brilliant place to start in your journey toward greater equality. Organisations share the diversity statistics of their workforce. Even if you’re not intending to share yours further, work out the % of white and non-white staff across the board, in senior leadership roles and in any executive or C-suite positions. Once benchmarked, you can identify ways to improve equality at all levels.
You needn’t make these stats public, but it’s worth sharing them with your staff. Ask them too if they have any ideas on how better to equate white and non-white positions to at least a 50-50 level.
Start Work To Improve Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
Unless you’re at perfect proportioned representation already (which seems unlikely), it’s time to address how better to recruit and retain a varied and diverse workforce. Speak openly and honestly with your existing BAME staff and most importantly, listen. This goes too for them suggesting or discussing ways in which the existing environment can be made friendlier, more inclusive and easier for them to work and function within – it’s likely there’s small and easy tweaks that can be made to accommodate everyone better.
If your workforce is entirely white, widen your company’s community ties and get to work in building new relationships that can better help you understand and adapt to work within and for the BAME communities around you.
The BLM movement has been fast-moving in recent weeks and there’s been few industries that haven’t been ‘called out’ for ill-practice, thoughtless marketing or poor leadership around BAME involvement. This can seem daunting, but it’s imperative that companies stay open-minded and take accountability for any previous mistakes. View this situation as an opportunity for growth and positive change, and roll with it.
Staying open-minded toward new approaches, new ways of working and new processes and policies may seem radical but can have untold positive effects on your business as a whole. It is key that now more than ever employers stay open, honest and transparent, in both their aims and their progress, and that you involve employees every step of the way. An inclusive workplace is a happy, healthy one – and that’s something we should never stop striving for.