As Black History Month comes to a close, there are lessons that organisations can learn to improve on diversity and inclusion.
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Each year Black History Month recognises the contributions, accomplishments, sacrifices and experiences of Black British people in the UK. We think this is not appropriate to only recognise and celebrate Black British people for one month but rather it should be the entire year.
It presents an opportunity for organisations to look at the ways in which they can improve on diversity and inclusion in their recruitment processes, culture and career development of its employees.
Progress so far
In 2020 the Black Lives Matter movement put diversity and inclusion at the top of the agenda as it highlighted the need for discrimination experienced by ethnic minorities to be tackled. The Financial Conduct Authority also factors in a firms’ diversity and inclusion figures into its decision making forcing financial services firms to form committees and implement intiatives to deal with this need.
Law firms now regard applicants more highly who have been to state schools and are the first generation to attend university putting fee paying schools behind slightly. In comparison with previous years, if you come from a disadvantaged background in 2021, it can actually aid you more in your search for employment or choice of university. This shows the progress that has been made over the years.
Executive level still remains the least diverse, giving the impression that the people leading the way are not able to relate to the rest of the workforce and therefore not make the right decisions. Going forwards, there is hope that this could change as the UK government has indicated it will be asking all employers to publish ethnicity pay gap reporting.
How can organisations improve on diversity and inclusion?
- Support — Providing support through initiatives such as reverse mentoring which is a two way process. Both parties provide feedback and advice to the other putting both in the driving seat and potential deliver the most impact.
- Bullying — this is one of the most common reasons employees feel they are not able to move forward and progress in their careers. Organisations have to outroot any blockers to the career progression of its employees which means a complete change of culture.
There is no simple answer to improving diversity and inclusion except to keep it as the main focus and keep reviewing initiatives looking back on metrics so that they are able to properly assess whether or not they are working just as engaging with employees will be key to improving on this.