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June 26, 2020

How to Promote Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace

The recent outrageous killing of George Floyd in the United States has, quite rightly, brought the issues of racial discrimination to the forefront of everyone’s minds.

We may be a long way from the United States, but we are also a long way from having racial equality and ethnic diversity in our workplaces. So, what can you do to promote ethnic diversity in the workplace? Read our blog post to find out.

Top-down approach

There must be a top-down decision to ensure that equality, diversity and inclusion is reflected in the company’s core values. It should also be reflected in your policies, procedures and everyday practices.

As part of your appraisal process, ensure that all levels of staff are assessed against your company values.

Zero-tolerance

Notify your employees that you have a zero-tolerance policy with regards to racism in your workplace. In addition, emphasise the importance of recognising and valuing diversity in the workplace.

Succession planning

Ensure that all employees are aware of how they can progress within the company by having a transparent, structured career progression path. Also, look at ways you can increase diversity in succession planning for senior management roles.

Identify barriers

There may be many barriers to progression faced by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) employees in your workplace. It’s more than likely there will be barriers that you don’t even realise exist.

A good way of doing this is to carry out a survey asking your employees whether they think your everyday practices support equality and ethnic diversity. Also, ask for ideas on how this could be improved. Further, question what they see as being barriers to promotion and progression faced by BAME employees. Finally, find out how they think these barriers could be addressed.

Remember, the most important part of such an exercise is to follow up on the responses you have received.

Organise training

Make sure that your Equal Opportunities Policy is easily accessible to all. You could also arrange compulsory training sessions on equality and diversity, focussing in particular on unconscious bias. In fact, your management team should have specific training on this with regards to recruitment and promotion.

Where barriers are identified, offer support to help employees overcome them – this may include specific training.

Recognition

You may already have employees who actively promote ethnic diversity in your workplace or outside of the workplace. These employees should be recognised and supported in their efforts in doing this. Maybe your company could sponsor your employees who take part in fundraising activities to assist with this?

Talk about race and ethnicity

Encourage employees to talk about race and ethnicity and encourage them to share information about their background and experiences, culture and traditions.

If you have BAME employees at senior levels, ask them to share their experiences to help other employees overcome any barriers to enhancing their own career paths. If you don’t have such employees in these positions, you could consider bringing in someone from outside of your company to give employees some insight on how this could be achieved.

Most importantly, all employees, from all backgrounds, should understand and accept that diversity is something to appreciate and respect. It should never be seen as a problem or something to argue over. In short, everyone matters!

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About the author

Elaine Pritchard

About the author

Elaine Pritchard

Elaine has a wealth of knowledge in producing contracts, training materials and other documentation as well as training other consultants. She piloted a scheme whereby she went on-site to act as a client’s HR Manager two days per week, whilst the post-holder was on maternity leave. Elaine also previously ran her own retail business for seven years, employing four people. Elaine is a field based consultant for Moorepay and provides on-site HR and Employment Law advice, consultancy and training services to our clients.

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