What racial equality at work means and how we make change happen

By Barclays

How can we develop and practise inclusive behaviours as we enter and move through the workplace?

With recent Black Lives Matter protests at the forefront of minds, racial equality — whereby institutions give equal opportunities to people of all races — has been a renewed focus of discussion.

Despite progress over past decades, few organisations truly reflect the diversity of the communities in which they operate. For people from black, ethic and minority groups, barriers still exist, from entry through to board level.

To help inform and inspire, Barclays LifeSkills has produced a short film for young people about what racial equality at work means and how we can all make change happen today.


As Kamal Ellis- Hyman says in the taster video above, “racial equality is something we all need to be aware of, whatever our ethnic background”.

The full 13-minute interactive video can also be accessed at the bottom of the article, providing practical tips on how to adopt inclusive behaviours and become a diversity champion.

Diversity makes organisations more successful

Equality of race is, of course, only one aspect of diversity.

At work, as in many other areas of life, we are likely to come into contact with people with a wide range of characteristics and experiences.

These differences may be in age, gender, sexual orientation or physical ability as well as race or ethnicity; or they may be differences in religion, education, background or thinking style.

For example, when we talk about ‘cognitive diversity’ we mean different styles of processing information and problem solving.

How can we develop and practise inclusive behaviours as we enter and move through the workplace?

"Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance"

Vernā Myers

Businesses have not always embraced diversity, with leaders traditionally hiring people who look and think like themselves, often unintentionally. This is known as an ‘affinity bias’ – an unconscious tendency to gravitate towards people who are similar to ourselves, whether in terms of appearance, culture or world view. But this is changing — not only because it is morally right to include people of all kinds within the workforce, but because it is proven to make organisations more successful.

Building a workforce with an array of skills and perspectives has been shown to drive up performance, creativity and innovation.

Teams can draw on a wider range of insights and ideas and are more likely to develop new products and to make better decisions.

They keep unconscious biases in check and better reflect the make-up of society – and the different customers that companies serve. They consistently perform better.

Inclusion is the key

However, diversity only flourishes when every team member feels included and valued for their unique talents and insights and is able to speak up safely and to contribute; diversity without inclusion will not stick. When people feel that they belong, they have an opportunity to reach their full potential and to help their teams and organisations reach theirs.

It is up to all of us, as we enter and move through the workforce, to adopt inclusive behaviours, so that our colleagues feel able to be their authentic selves and to share their thoughts and ideas for the benefit of all.

Watch the full video here


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