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Building a More Inclusive Workplace

02/07/2020 BY Rebecca Cook

The recent protests caused by the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent exposure given to the Black Lives Matter movement have had a significant impact on us at Charlton Morris. Like many companies, we’ve realised that we haven’t been doing enough to be anti-discriminatory and that there is more we can do to become a more diverse and inclusive employer.

We have always considered ourselves forward thinking and try to constantly evolve, however on this topic, we’ve realised we still have a lot more to learn. As a starting point I felt it was important to have open and honest conversations with employees within the company to understand their past experiences and thoughts on the topic.

To start the conversation, we came up with a questionnaire that was sent out to all employees in the business. Participants in the questionnaire (87% of our employees responded) were given the option to remain anonymous, or put their name forward to be an ongoing part of the conversation.

The questionnaire was meant as a starting point, to enable to us to see where we would need to make changes and where we currently stood as a business. The results have given us a lot to think about and a great platform for us to start developing our longer term strategy.

Here are some of the findings from the questionnaire:

There was a resounding consensus across the business that there are societal problems with regard to racism, and that significant changes need to be made, outside the workplace, to address this.

Taking this a step further, many of our respondents said that they plan to make changes themselves to influence change. These changes included going the extra mile to educate themselves, speaking out if they’re a witness to any discriminatory behaviours and sharing information around systemic racism.

This was a particularly jarring statistic for us. We want Charlton Morris to become representative of our communities in Leeds and the wider UK in terms of the diversity of our employees.

The low response to this is no surprise – this has been the first time we’ve attempted to stimulate conversation and debate around this topic. Again, we want to commit to making these conversations a part of our ongoing people strategy.

This statistic has helped us contextualise the scale of the problem at hand, and once again drive our desire to make positive contributions to societal change.


So What’s Next?

We’re putting together a diversity and inclusion team at Charlton Morris, for those who expressed an interest in being a part of it. We’ll be releasing the full results of the survey to that team internally and setting ambitious targets to help us identify the issues this questionnaire has helped us uncover.

Our D&I programme will likely include external training, changing our approach to internal recruitment, induction practices and CSR efforts and re visiting our in office practices to promote an actively anti-discriminatory culture.

I’m really pleased to announce that we’ve had a truly diverse (in terms of ethnic background, role and seniority within the business) range of names put forward and I’ll be hosting our first meeting next month. We’ll do our best to record, report back on and monitor the ongoing efforts of this group to help Charlton Morris become an actively anti-racist, anti-discriminatory and inclusive workplace as we move towards our eighth year of business, which begins in September.

Watch this space – we have a long way to go, but are really excited about the future.

 

If you have any suggestions to help us with this journey, please reach out to me directly at Rebecca.cook@charltonmorris.com