Are business leaders guilty of ‘gross failings’ when it comes to hiring ethnic minorities?

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

The report is calling for senior leaders to use the new year to “surgically diagnose” their HR data to take action against the practices and bad actors that produce disproportionate outcomes for ethnic minority professionals.

The report is called The Middle: Progressing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Talent in the Workplace Through Collaborative Action*.

The authors of the report 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.

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The report offers 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, comments: “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.”

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