Tackling racism and racial discrimination in the workplace

Tackling racism and racial discrimination in the workplace

Racism has no place in our society. Businesses must be part of the change we all need, to step up and stamp out prejudice, and to build diverse and supportive cultures of respect and fairness for all. The CIPD is developing and curating practical content on its dedicated hub to help members and people professionals tackle these challenges.

Petunia Thomas, a highly successful & experienced consultant in designing and delivering workshops for senior leaders to promote race fluency and inclusive leadership modules with a`Black and Ethnic Minority/BAME` lens, recently wrote about how HR, D&I practitioners, CEOs & line managers can support black colleagues and drew attention to the ‘unspoken exhaustion, emotional drain, burden and trauma‘ many black colleagues are currently experiencing – overlaid with the challenges of covid-19. Read the full article here.

John Amaechi OBE, organisational psychologist and director of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, gave a keynote speech at the CIPD’s Festival of Work, where he spoke about racism, the difficulties of working through a pandemic, and how a learning culture is key to finding solutions. He also said ‘We have to allow people some clumsiness, especially when the topics are difficult’. Take 25 minutes to learn from John’s keynote.

The CIPD has curated a wealth of resources and guidance to help people professionals tackle racism and racial discrimination in the workplace including links to webinars, guides and Q&As.

Peter Cheese, published a message on 1 July 2020 calling for ‘commitment to action and change’. Peter acknowledged that for him personally it had been a time of significant reflection. He pointed out that as a white person, he could not live the experience of a black or ethnic minority person, despite having heard many personal stories. He urged ‘open talk about race and racism within organisations, and what it feels like to be part of a minority’. Read Peter’s message here

Tackle the issue of racism head on

The CIPD is developing and collating practical content to help members and people professionals navigate the challenges and tackle the issue of racism head on. We encourage you to read the articles linked above and make time to read and digest the practical content available via the CIPD website.

Developing an anti-racist strategy

Racial injustices and ingrained inequalities are apparent in society and evident in UK workplaces. To address the root causes of racial inequality (racism), employers need to maintain a zero-tolerance approach to workplace discrimination – as is required by the Equality Act 2010 – and commit to planned action. The CIPD guide outlines six principles (which build upon the institute’s initial call for an approach based on four key principles) to help organisations develop an action strategy to help end systemic racism and address racial inequalities at work.

Explore the six principles the CIPD recommends to help you create a racially inclusive workplace.

In the words of Peter Cheese:

‘The first thing is to commit to action and change but based on a real understanding of the issues and with some clear and achievable goals. Platitudes won’t cut it. It’s not just making statements that we are against racism, but what are we prepared to commit to in order to change things.’

Peter Cheese, Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)