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February 2023
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Hello and welcome to another issue of the Inclusion Edit. February has been Black History Month in the USA since 1970 — a time to celebrate, reflect, recognise “and seize the opportunity to honour the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavour throughout our history" — as President Ford, who inaugurated the tradition, put it.
As our contribution to the discussion, this month’s newsletter looks at where we are when it comes to racial equity in the workplace. Or, as long-time race campaigner Sir Trevor Phillips put it to me when I interviewed him for the Inclusion Edit last month: “We’ve come a long way but there is still a long way to go.” For him, accurate data is key: after all in business, what gets measured, gets done. “If I could wave a magic wand I would make sure that every CEO had their metrics on the retention of strategic talent within the business presented to them with their key numbers every Monday morning. It’s not enough to have a DEI policy in a drawer — companies need to be examining their cultures to make sure they don’t just recruit diverse talent, but retain them.”
We know it is not always easy. This month we are looking at microaggressions, what they are and what to do if you commit one. We all need to own our biases and realise our blind spots, and the only way to do that is by having open and honest conversations. Often a good way to think about this is to turn the situation around. As a posh, white woman I don’t think anyone has ever asked me where I am from. Maybe where in the UK I grew up, or where I went to school, but never: “Where are you from?”. As Buckingham Palace discovered, we all need to examine our behaviour: Holiday Phillips writes brilliantly below about coming to terms with our own privilege. If work is to be a place where everyone can flourish, we all need to ask ourselves some penetrating questions — and be prepared to do that in an honest and open manner. We hope that the advice laid out here can help you to do that and that the data will make you stop and think.
I do hope you enjoy the newsletter and look forward to seeing you for the Inclusion Edit Live on February 8th.
All the best,
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Editor of The Inclusion Edit
You’ve heard about “quiet quitting”, but what about “climate quitting”? More people than ever are opting for jobs which help the planet. More execs are quitting their jobs in the private sector too, but there it’s because of burnout, and in the public sector the government’s new anti-strike law could make an already volatile public sector even tougher.
So, what else is on the HR agenda this year? Does your business have plans in place to help your employees heal from the pandemic? And would you know whether you should require an employee to attend work these days if they test positive for coronavirus but are asymptomatic? And while we’re on the subject of Covid, has the work from home revolution changed the way we work permanently? Well, searches for WFH jobs just hit a five-year high, with managers (if not bosses) believing flexibility is good for business. Maybe built-in flex will help fix the “alarming lack” of women in executive FTSE roles; how effective will the Women on Boards directive be for the EU?
We’re always keeping an eye on the broader news agenda for you. This time, have a read of this to understand how to support those struggling with the UK’s decision to block Scotland’s gender identity bill. And while we’re on gender, is there a discrepancy in how you refer to your male and female colleagues?
Will the rise of AI in recruitment help you meet your DE&I targets? Could it help increase social mobility among young, working class, people with disabilities? And finally, imagine being told to “wash your face” at work — acne sufferers of the world unite!
THE bigger picture
Racial equity in the workplace – what is the data telling us?
At the top: Business in the Community found that the significant lack of racial diversity at the top of UK organisations remains unacceptable: the number of non-white CEOs stands at 4%, while just 2% of FTSE 100 CFOs are non-white.
Only 55% of FTSE 250 companies have a board member from a minoritised ethnic background, according to the Parker Review — that’s still leaving us with 45% all-white boards. And most of the FTSE100 minority ethnic group appointments are non-executive directors, with only six CEOs and 12 other executive directors across the FTSE100 who are from minoritised groups. 
Many companies’ first port of call to increasing diversity is of course, recruitment, but even step one can be mired in prejudice for some. Black people were 81% more likely than their white counterparts to say processes such as hiring and promotions were unfair or only slightly fair, adding to the likelihood that they’d leave their jobs. And according to BITC, despite Black African (67%) and Black Caribbean (71%) people being the most likely to use a recruitment agency, they are the least likely to believe that they are treated fairly.
Retainment is also an issue — 46% of Black professionals plan to leave their jobs in the near future (within the next 2 years) vs. 34% of white employees (Jul 2022) and for Black Women this is even higher at 52%.
Although more than 70% of professional services firms have a formal DE&I policy in place, just a third are able to evidence that their efforts are creating an equitable workplace, according to iResearch Services’ recent report, A Fairer Future: Equity and Inclusion in Professional Services. 
Starting with journalism: across a week in July 2020, right in the thick of a global reckoning of racism, Women in Journalism found that no Black journalists had written a front page article in that time. Has much changed elsewhere in business?
Real change happens from continuous and compassionate training, conversations and commitments from the very top. 
IN conversation with trevor phillips
This month on the Inclusion Edit we are discussing race equity – so who better to speak to how far we have come, but also how far there is to go, than Sir Trevor Phillips OBE.
Sir Trevor was appointed head of the Commission for Racial Equality way back in 2003 by then Prime Minister Tony Blair and went on to become the chairman of The Equality and Human Rights Commission which replaced it. He is a politician (former Chair of the London Assembly), broadcaster, writer,  campaigner and businessman who has been fearless in putting the data front and centre in the discussion about race, even if that has sometimes ruffled feathers… 
How it feels to…
embrace vulnerability
what can i do today?
Holiday phillips:
Is it ever OK to ask someone “where are you from”?
I myself have been asked this question multiple times and my response varies depending on multiple factors, mostly who is asking; when and why they are asking; what mood I’m in and what has happened in the run-up to me meeting that question. There are times when I will delight in the question as an invitation to speak proudly about my heritage. But if the same person asked me that question directly after I’d had the all-too-familiar experience of being trailed around a store by a security guard, I might be less inclined to receive that question favourably. 
Here are three things to consider when asking this question:
1. The difference between “where are you from” and “where are you really from”
2. When, who and why you ask it
3. How would you react if someone was offended by this question
conversations around racial equity 
8th February 2023
10.00 & 18.00 GMT
This month, we're holding space for conversations around racial equity. Our expert speakers will share insightful stories to aid in creating inclusive cultures. We'll also explore the sensitive topic of "Where are you from?" to promote confident and respectful conversations on diversity. Speakers include British writer, broadcaster and former politician, Sir Trevor Phillips OBE; Investment Director at M&G Investments, Sunny Romo; and participants from Moving Ahead’s Leaders for Race Equity scheme as well as a conversation about burnout and embracing Soft Life with wellbeing advocate Thelma Mensah
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coming up
Awareness days to look out for this month
LGBTQ+ History Month (UK)
Black History Month (US)
Ethnic Equality Month 
February 2023
World Hijab Day
1st February 2023
Time to Talk Day
2nd February 2023
World Cancer Day
4th February 2023
Race Equality Week
6th - 12th February 2023
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
6th February 2023
International Day of Women and Girls in Science
11th February 2023
World Day of Social Justice
20th February 2023
Eating Disorders Awareness Week
27th February - 5th March 2023

Speak soon, 
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