We have all been challenged and reminded of how deep-rooted racism is in society and how it remains a lived experience for all ethnic minorities, particularly for black people and the strength of feeling coming through the Black Lives Matter movement. We have far to go in building fair and truly inclusive societies and organisations for all, and we all have a responsibility to take action and commit to positive change.

Organisations are a part of society and must be a part of the solution to ending racism, not a part of the problem. Stamping out racism in all forms, whether covert or overt should be at the heart of responsible business.

Our profession, the people profession, has a fundamental and primary role in leading the awareness and understanding of racism at work, and the changes in culture, behaviours, policies, practices and learning that will make the difference. We have to acknowledge that despite greater focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives in recent years, progress on tackling racism has been too slow. We must challenge ourselves to get to the heart of the issues, the often less visible barriers and cultures that have allowed racism to persist.

As the CIPD, we recognise our responsibilities and the need for leadership. The issues are complex and deep-rooted, and we have to listen but also move to action. We are reaching out to hear what we must do to help our members and the profession at large. We are bringing in others to work with us and to challenge us. And we are looking at ourselves as an organisation and as a community to be the change that is so clearly needed.

We will focus our work on three key areas to end racism at work:

  1. Policy reform – We will call on Government to make policy changes to ensure organisations address the issue of bias and racism, and to give our profession voice. We will press for the introduction of ethnicity pay gap reporting, building on the previous Government’s consultation. We will challenge Government to take forward recommendations from previous reviews of racism in society, and also input into the new Government commission on racial inequalities, as well as recommending other changes to public policy that we believe can help drive change forward.

  2. Provide support for organisations to act – We have been developing guidance and FAQs, which include advice on how to open up the conversations around race, as well as podcasts and a series of webinars aimed at raising awareness and challenging organisations to think differently on race at work. We are reviewing and improving all our learning and teaching on diversity and inclusion, particularly in addressing the causes of racism and how we confront them. We will work together with partners to drive commitments to change across organisations everywhere. We also commit to ensuring that the CIPD itself can become a role model, to improve our practices and representation of diversity right across the organisation.

  3. Attract and support progression of black and ethnic minority people professionals – We know that the HR profession itself is not diverse enough, particularly at the middle and senior levels, and we must attract and support progression of more people from black and ethnic minority communities. This must be a shared commitment from organisations, but we will commit to shining a stronger light on role models, rolling out mentoring/coaching programs, and reporting on progress across the profession.

At the CIPD we want to find ways to drive positive change together with our worldwide community of members, and the wider profession. We can only create lasting change if we work together to create fair and inclusive societies. We pledge to keep listening, to dedicate internal resources to improve our support and to sustain our efforts over time.

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