BLM and Diversity in the workplace

The rise of the BLM movement has brought a sharp focus on the lack of diversity across many key aspects of our society not least of which within the corporate world…….

Over the coming weeks and months as Black Lives Matter falls off the corporate appropriation radar what tangible steps will companies have taken to incorporate greater diversity into all levels of the workplace structure? Will the cosmetic slogans of affinity and promised action give way to empty unfulfilled pledges?

For Agiltima the need for diversity in the workplace has always been a natural part of our DNA. Our management team grew up on the high rise estates of South London. They experienced two sets of riots, in part fuelled by the aggressive police stop and search tactics of the time. They witnessed, and unfortunately at times experienced, police intimidation, giving them a very small insight into today’s grievances held by many in the US and UK who oppose the dangers of unaccountable state authority.

Additionally, their parents were often key workers – cleaners, bus drivers, teachers, postal workers, London underground workers. The very same key workers, many from the BAME community, we clapped for during the Covid crisis.

Which got us thinking. If your cleaning team and your senior management team both dressed in corporate suits could your customers and clients spot the difference? Or better still what if both teams were dressed in cleaning kit? Would both teams be equally diverse? It’s a crude measure but if you can’t tell the difference then perhaps your company really has made some strides in becoming a truly diverse company.

Chances are the most important team in your office – the cleaners – do not feature on your organisational chart. Perhaps they’re an outsourced team. Maybe no-one even knows their names.

If your company truly values the efforts of the cleaning team to prevent the spread of Covid in the workplace, isn’t about time they were recognised? And if your company truly values diversity then it shouldn’t it also apply to the boardroom?

So why not pose the question to your HR team? Challenge them to post a picture of the two teams side by side, dressed identically. It will be interesting see the response you get.