The lack of diversity across the UK's private sector is no new surprise. Disconcerting statistics surrounding the lack of diversity found within the UK's workforce have highlighted that only 2% of directors are from an ethnic minority background, despite 59% of the ethnic minority workforce aspiring to reach management positions. In order to ensure businesses cannot state that diversity is too big of a challenge, Equality Group, a consultancy that helps companies retain and develop diverse talent, unveils their top ten diversity commandments for businesses who wish to improve a fair representation of British culture within their business.

10 diversity commandments

1. Education, Education, Education

  • Create a safe space for bold and confident discussions around race issues
  • Be clear on intent; open and honest in conversation
  • Examine and assess the language you are currently using and whether it works
  • Get the right people around the table (i.e. senior leaders, junior team members, as wide a range of ethnic diversity as possible)
  • Start with the key decision makers at the firm
  • Get the senior leadership to spearhead the education process across the firm
  • Educate everyone in the company about the value of diversity and the particular importance of BAME talent

2. Radical Recruitment

  • Have clear targets for the percentage of BAME candidates, i.e. 10% of a shortlist
  • Expand into a broader search pool – partner with networks and firms who can help
  • Identify different ways to evaluate diverse talent and train the interviewers and managers (do not expect them to know how to do this)
  • Contextualised recruiting: understanding the local demographic and how to assess their performance

3. Know Your Data

  • Ensure you know where you stand currently
  • Put in place an appropriate system for collecting and measuring the data
  • Set clear and achievable targets
  • Share the targets and the anonymised data with the firm to create greater levels of transparency
  • Ensure that you are accountable with your data

4. Unconscious Bias

  • Ensure training on an unconscious bias with ongoing refreshers
  • Apply the methodologies of dealing with unconscious bias
  • Remind individuals at any key-decision making junctures about the importance of unconscious bias and the impact it has on all of us

5. Relationships & Role Models

  • Raise the profile of key BAME professionals in your firm
  • Encourage role models to tell their stories within the organisation via different mediums (e.g. videos, lunch and learns, podcasts etc)
  • Join networks, panels, events and power lists that will promote your key BAME talent
  • Build structured and coordinated mentorship programmes
  • Consider reverse mentoring across the organisation
  • BAME on BAME mentoring + BAME on Non-BAME mentoring

6. Appreciate Intersectionality

  • Breaking down BAME into which minorities it covers, e.g. Black, South East Asian
  • Ensure intersectionality within the ethnic groups
  • Ensure that understanding of the minority backgrounds and differences are included in the reporting
  • Understand and appreciate cultural differences
  • Consider social mobility factors that overlap with BAME

7. Collaborative Events & Celebrations

  • Organise and attend networking events with diverse candidates and board level management
  • Organising events for the full range of diverse talent
  • Celebrate as a firm at key points in the year, i.e. Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride etc.

8. Early Outreach

  • Programmes in schools
  • Encouraging and supporting young talent
  • Soft skills programmes
  • Look at targeting communities and areas with strong BAME representation to help build an early talent pipeline and affinity with an organisation

9. Sponsorship & Coaching

  • Build upon successful mentoring programmes with sponsorship training
  • Ensure emerging talent have trained sponsors
  • Make coaching available at key points in the career and look at who your coaches are (do they reflect the talent you want to develop)

10. BAME & Your Brand

  • Examine the representation of BAME in your brand
  • Create marketing/social media campaigns associated with BAME agenda

As a society of business leaders, decision-makers, professionals and commentators, we have an obligation to ensure that intention is met with action to ensure the UK’s workforce - in its entirety - has access to a democratised career ladder that promotes inclusion for all at every level.