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Minority ethnic talent progression impossible without “deep work” of stakeholders.

Sophie Chandauka, Co-Founder - Black British Business Awards

A new report released today by the Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) in partnership with J.P. Morgan, identifies the gross failings of businesses to collectively address and act upon racial disparity in the workplace.

The report, The Middle: Progressing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Talent in the Workplace Through Collaborative Action*, is one of the only reports to offer actionable frameworks for businesses, specifically tailored to addressing the challenges of the UK market.

The first framework for action addresses how to create a colla task force that unites the efforts of different stakeholder groups into a coherent, effective and strategic solution to improve the career experiences and representation of minority ethnic professionals at senior levels.

The second framework for action builds on the understanding that tackling inequity is not the responsibility of minority ethnic professionals alone, and describes how to build a race allies campaign which spreads the responsibility to members of privileged groups.

The BBBAwards, which has been at the forefront of the movement to improve diversity in UK businesses since 2014, analysed qualitative insights gathered through the lived experience data of four key D&I stakeholders: Human Resource Directors, Network Leads, Diversity and Inclusion Practitioners, and Executive Sponsors from 30 organisations.

The research found that these stakeholders are the key catalysts for organisational change, yet businesses are failing to collectively leverage these roles and address the pervasive barriers that each of them face.

In addition, the report highlights the perception disparity between Executive Sponsors and their people experts, with senior management often having a much more positive view of how the company is addressing race than the people doing the work on the ground.

Here are five key guidelines for organisations who are serious about tackling the lack of diversity as they move into 2021:

  1. The tone must be set from the top and connect to key performance indicators;
  2. People managers must act responsibly and take accountability;
  3. There should be alignment and stronger partnership inside organisations;
  4. Map the journey;
  5. Normalise discussions about race and establish a shared vocabulary.

Sophie Chandauka, Global COO of Shared Services and Banking Operations at Morgan Stanley and co-founder of the BBBAwards, states: “We have seen many charters and pledges signed and publicised over the last year, but pledging is no longer enough. As we begin this new year, senior leaders will need to surgically diagnose their HR data to identify practices and bad actors that produce differentiated outcomes for ethnic minority professionals when it comes to high profile work allocation, mobility opportunities, talent ranking, compensation and promotion. The Middle provides strategic recommendations for cultural and organisational change. There is no quick fix; organisations must commit to the journey in order to provide assurance to shareholders and other stakeholders that deep work is being done to drive meaningful change urgently.”

Melanie Eusebe, co-founder of the BBBAwards, states: “As we enter into the New Year, we are calling on company Chairs, CEOs and HR Directors to identify practices that must be stopped to avoid exacerbating issues and reinforcing barriers for minority ethnic talent progression. There is no better time to begin speaking openly about race, which is the first step towards addressing the problem.”

Tia A. Counts Global CIB and EMEA Head of Advancing Black Leaders of J.P. Morgan, comments in the Key Partner’s Foreword:“It is encouraging to see leaders around the world seize this opportunity to re-commit to doing the hard work it takes to create more inclusive companies. Innovative thinking is just what is needed at this time to move forward. The Middle is a great example of this. Intelligent and specific, its methodology applies a local lens, addressing the specific challenges of the UK market.”

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