Black Lives Matter – How should my business respond?

14th September 2020

Over the summer the Black Lives Matter movement has made headlines across the world. But what does it mean for your business? What can you do to show your support? As a trainer in Diversity and Inclusion I have seen many organisations struggle with this question. Most leaders I know are keen to do something. But what’s the right response? What will indeed make a difference long-term to the life experiences of people from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups?

In my view it’s important to stay away from knee-jerk reactions. Instead it’s better to consider a more long-term strategy that puts the topic of inclusion of all on the agenda more firmly. What that looks like? This is what I have seen the best companies and leaders do:

  1. Educate yourself. Read up on the topic, and reflect. What do you stand for? What kind of leader or colleague do you want to be?
  2. Start an educated conversation with ethnic minority staff already in your organisation. What has it been like for them? What kind of support do they need from you? Listen.
  3. Review your mission, values and business strategy. How will being more inclusive help your business? Will you attract more or better talent? Is it about engaging current staff? Is it about gaining more clients? Is it about innovation? When you have an answer, you are ready for a more long-term approach to being inclusive.
  4. Start or strengthen an inclusive culture in your organisation. Make sure that whatever measures you take, they eventually lead to inclusion of all. I have learned from working in gender diversity for 10 years that if you focus on one group, another group will feel excluded, leading to tension and dissatisfaction in the long term.

So, now is a great moment to look at ways you can make sure all your staff feel included. Who are you hiring? Whose voices do you hear most? Who is getting most support for development? Becoming aware of that, and then taking action will make the real difference.

I run regular training programmes and free events for those keen to drive inclusion in their organisation and am always happy to have a chat to help you think through next steps.


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