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Henley Equity Effect research shared to mark National Inclusion Week 2021

Equity effect graphics

The research, published in the summer, revealed that businesses which actively confront inequity and racism with practical measures, can expect to see an improvement in their employees’ job satisfaction, loyalty, creativity and, ultimately, value, recording an average revenue 58% higher across three years than those which did not.

The theme for National Inclusion Week 2021 (27 September – 3 October) is #UnitedforInclusion, and it encourages shared learning, best practice, successes and challenges. Our research includes key takeaways for businesses to focus on, which will help them on the journey towards achieving genuine racial equity, such as:

  • Make a stand. Businesses need to decide that discrimination is not acceptable in their organisation. A good place to start is with your data, to see if and where you may have an issue. Racial equity needs to link to organisational culture.
  • Fairness is critical. It is important that CEOs also show they are not ‘favouring’ one group – but that inequity in the organisation is at odds with its values. Organisations need to support business leaders to drive culture changes by drawing on the experiences and expertise of ethnic minority communities to bridge the gap between minority races.
  • A top-down approach is essential to this strategy as it gives endorsement and legitimacy to discussions on race. Of course, we know they have to be authentic but, even so, the CEO/senior leadership need to set the agenda and the pace.
  • Talking and walking is crucial to embedding racial equity. Having training sessions on race, equity and inclusion are important and should begin at the point of induction and become a regular feature. For one thing, it helps with reducing the fear of upsetting others, which our research showed is a key barrier to conversations about race.
  • Create pipelines and pathways. Recruiting talent in a fair and non-biased way to increase diversity is important. Your customers, users and clients will be from an increasingly diverse world. Make sure your staff are too.

The aim of the Equity Effect research was to understand the reasons racial inequity still exists in the workplace, and what the barriers and challenges are to overcoming it.

The research included a survey of over 500 business leaders and 1,000 employees, asking questions about their experiences of race and racism in their workplaces and the measures their companies have in place.

It found that factors such as perceived cultural differences (cited by 56% of employees and 52% of business leaders) and a lack of diversity in leadership (33% of employees) are driving racial inequity and systemic racism within UK businesses.

As many as 22% of employees say they have personally experienced or seen discrimination of some sort in their workplace, with many citing race as the primary pretext (55%).

Henley has used key insights uncovered in the report to enhance three of its apprenticeship programmes from March 2022. The programmes span leadership, management and future leaders.

Around 100 places will be available for organisations from a variety of sectors, with participants given guidance on why equity is critical for organisational success and how to develop strategies that can create equity in the workplace.

Racial equity means all employees are valued and treated fairly (even if this means being treated differently) irrespective of their race and culture, under the belief that strength comes through diversity. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that foster racial discrimination and providing additional support and services to balance out inequities.

Published 28 September 2021
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