It’s Time to Stamp-out Racism in the Workplace

BlogHR Advice Posted: Tuesday 3rd October 2017 by

In today’s modern employment environment, it has become more important than ever to stamp out harmful and discriminatory behaviour before it becomes embedded in your workplace culture.

According to research by Green Park, published in Personnel Today, 82% of ethnic minority leaders believe that there is institutional prejudice in the companies they work for, with 73% believing that most workplace racism is unconscious.

With unconscious bias so difficult to identify, and to ensure your business attracts exceptional people from the widest possible talent pool, here are the steps can you take to oust racism from your workplace once and for all.

Implement an anti-discrimination policy and stick to it

Lay a solid foundation with a strong anti-discrimination policy and make it very clear that the company will not tolerate incidences of racism, harassment or discrimination in any form. It is also important to spell out the repercussions of breaching the policy and take swift action so that perpetrators, as well as victims, know what to expect from the company.

Anonymise the recruitment process

A DWP research report that tested racial discrimination in the recruitment process found gross disparities between sets of candidates with identical qualifications but different nationalities. By truly anonymising your recruitment process and asking solely for qualifications and evidence of skill to do the job, you can be assured that your business is genuinely accessing the widest possible talent pool.

Train managers to understand different cultural backgrounds

In today’s cross-cultural business environment, our clients, customers, partners, and colleagues can come from anywhere in the world. By training leaders to understand diversity and develop an appreciation for other cultures, you will develop a well-rounded and sophisticated internal knowledge base that will filter down throughout the rest of your business.

Establish an anonymous reporting system

It is often the case that instances of discrimination are often unreported by well-meaning staff members for fear of repercussion from their peers. By creating a reporting system that is protected by anonymity, more people are likely to come forward and support your companies zero tolerance policy.

There is no such thing as ‘casual racism’

Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, a notable rise in ‘casual racism’ in the workplace has been reported.  The term ‘casual racism’ has been adopted in recent years to describe everyday instances of discrimination, such as racist jokes and use of racist slang.

Through training and policy adoption it is important to make your workforce aware that no form of discrimination is casual and your company operates a zero-tolerance approach.

It is also important to bear in mind that race discrimination is not just a civil matter, but also a criminal one. Racism in your workplace can be taken out of your hands as an employer and referred directly to the police for further investigation. As a responsible employer, it is imperative that you are able to provide full evidence on how your business complies with the law and supports an anti-discrimination culture in your workplace.

For support on implementing an anti-discrimination policy in your place of work, get in touch with our expert team.

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