‘It is not enough to say you aren’t racist, you have to be anti-racist'

This is a phrase we have heard many times recently as deep-rooted issues of racism in our societies – brought into sharp focus through the Black Lives Matters movement - are forcing every organisation to take responsibility for addressing the issues of racial equality and fairness

The CIPD wants to do more to support organisations with putting policies in place, and we recognise, along with others, that we need to be more active in working to stamp out racism in the workplace.

We want to have a strong voice on the issue and produce practical advice and guidance to help not just our Members but the wider people profession. We’re committed to producing resources and content rapidly and more importantly sustaining momentum over time – and in order to do that we’ve taken some time to actively listen. Not just to the wants and needs of people professionals, but to the challenges and suggestions of what we could do differently. 

Thank you to those who have contacted us directly and to those who have taken the time to share thoughts, feedback and ideas on our community forum, LinkedIn pages and through conversations at our digital Festival of Work. We know these aren’t easy conversations to have, but we want to do all we can to facilitate honest discussions about what needs to change. In the words of John Amaechi OBE, Organisational Psychologist and Director of the UK’s largest NHS Trust who spoke at the Festival of Work, ‘‘We have to allow people some clumsiness, especially when the topics are difficult’’.

You have told us that you want support with:

  • How systemic racism that exists in workplaces can be challenged and removed.
  • Tackling the root cause of racism.
  • How to facilitate a safe environment for black colleagues to be heard. 
  • Having bold and honest conversations with all staff.
  • Developing values in an inclusive way.
  • Embedding diversity and inclusion across HR activities.
  • How to reach a more diverse candidate pool.
  • Putting in place support systems to ensure everyone can reach their full potential. 
  • Legal advice on pursuing racial discrimination claims against employers.
  • Creating safe places for all employees if they need support.
  • Creating spaces to discuss racism as professionals.
  • Building racial literacy and resilience for HR people to talk about racism.
  • Action around bullying and harassment in the workplace. 
  • Having representatives from the black community at the table. 
  • Self-awareness and personal development for individuals in the workplace.
  • Providing education on white privilege. 
  • How to influence or educate senior teams and colleagues.
  • How to be actively anti-racist activist at work. 
 

Last week we set out four principles to help organisations build diverse and supportive cultures of respect and fairness for all. Following your feedback, we’re putting together a series of activities over the coming weeks which will include FAQs and an in-depth anti-racism guide, video podcasts on the challenges faced by the profession and leaders, and webinars to help navigate the challenges and tackle this issue head on. 

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

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