Sandra Kerr OBE, writes of workplace racism and the how entering the Best 100 Employers for Race list will help to action lasting change.
Last week, the Centre for Dynamics of Ethnicity at the University of Manchester published five new videos exploring the impact of workplace racism on employees. The videos are based on over 2,000 comments on bullying and harassment and more than 3,000 comments relating to leadership and the promotion of equality and diversity in the workplace, received from the 24,457 people who took part in Business in the Community’s Race at Work survey. They also include steps on how employers can tackle these issues.
The stories presented in these videos are shocking and saddening, but unfortunately not surprising. We know that racial bullying and harassment is prevalent in the workplace; Race at Work (2015) found that 30% of respondents who had experienced or witnessed racial bullying or harassment did so within that year. We also know from recent news articles that this continues to be the experience not just of people in the workplace but by people in cities around the country. This can have a significant impact both on individuals and employers. For example, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees who experience racial bullying and harassment are likely to have reduced opportunities for training and career progression, and in some cases leave their employer altogether. With McKinsey research showing that the top quartile of organisations for ethnic diversity are more likely to financially outperform the bottom quartile by 35%, this represents a potentially significant loss of talent that employers cannot afford.
However, there are some employers who are taking action on this issue and leading on race equality at work. These are the employers Business in the Community aims to celebrate with our new Best 100 Employers for Race listing, launched as part of the recommendations from the recently published McGregor-Smith Review into Race in the Workplace. The listing is open to employers of all sizes and from all sectors, and is free to enter. I would encourage all organisations who are taking action on race equality to take part. Entries close on Friday 2nd June so make sure you take part as soon as you can!
Sadly, workplace racism remains a persistent part of workplace life in Britain, but by highlighting the impact it has on employees and businesses – as well as best practice in tackling it – we can create real, lasting change that benefits everyone. I hope you will take part in the Best 100 Employers for Race listing and show the action your organisation is taking to do just that.