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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: June 2019

By Dr Ian Dodds FRSA – Lotus Award winner 2017 for Lifetime Achievement in Pioneering Inclusive Cultures

Delivering Equality for Black Minority Ethnic (BME) Employees

I attended a Conference a few years ago which was primarily about BME issues and a high proportion of the attendees were themselves BMEs. It became clear that many of them felt angry and frustrated about the lack of progress they believed had been made on gaining Equality. The data that was provided at this and an earlier Conference I attended showed that BMEs:

– Were underrepresented in management and particularly at senior levels;
– Received lower average performance ratings than white staff;
– Received lower average bonuses than white staff;
– Were nearly twice as likely to be involved in disciplinary proceedings than their white counterparts;
– Were more likely to be disciplined over relatively insignificant matters.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the inequality the above represents resulted in the BME people at the conference feeling angry and frustrated. I was somewhat disappointed with the solutions offered to address this Equality disparity as they tended to be transactional and not transformational. There was very little reference in these to building an inclusive culture, which is a transformational approach intended to change mindsets and behaviour. This is one where everyone, whatever their diversity, feels: valued and respected; listened to; empowered; helped to develop to perform their best both for now and for the future.

Of course, building an inclusive culture is something that requires long-term strategic action over, at least, a few years. However, this is the key, in my experience, for succeeding with addressing BME Inequality. The key interventions which are required to succeed are:

1. Offering a vision of future organisational success through developing a workplace, which is inclusive to everyone, including BMEs, and communicating it to everyone.
2. A strategy for delivering this vision covering quick wins and longer term strategic actions.
3. The leaders of the organisation becoming role model exemplars of inclusive behaviour. In my experience this is best effected by their having feedback and coaching on their practice of the inclusive behaviours.
4. Training all of the managers in:
– unconscious bias;
– listening skills, including; seeking information; checking understanding;< acknowledging positive contributions; summarising; etc;
– how to empower people;
– how to give effective feedback and in-the-moment coaching.
5. Measuring progress and addressing barriers and sharing success stories and the lessons on good practices from them.

IDC has successfully used this approach with organisations in both the private and public sectors to improve Equality for BMEs and, also, for women. If you want more information on this please don't hesitate to contact me.

Dr Ian Dodds – 29 June 2019

·      Inclusive cultures drive high performance and complex change

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