Like the rest of the world, we were sad to see the violence and vicious attacks that took place following the Black Lives Matters protests. But we are happy that positive and peaceful discussions are still taking place, the message is still holding its strength, it remains at the forefront of our minds and action is happening – individually and on a global scale.
But what now? What can your firm do to genuinely show solidarity and show that Black Lives Matter?
We’d like to continue this conversation and support you and your firm.
Racism is a sensitive issue and it makes us cautious – are we doing and saying the right things? Is it enough that you marked #blackouttuesday? Or should you be putting your money where your mouth is and helping to support real, long-term change?
Are small changes worthwhile or without a full-on strategy…is there any point at all?
In our opinion, every conversation, every book read, every little action IS enough. Because it’s purposeful. It inspires change. And you are using your resources to make a difference.
However, a social movement is not a business decision and normal branding rules do not apply. Black Lives Matter is the biggest and most important movement of our generation, and you must walk the walk before you tweet the tweet.
It would be highly contradictory to send a Black Lives Matter message if you can be called out on your own workplace environment and internal processes. To make a real difference, you must personally commit to educating yourself, the values you stand for and echo that in your brand.
Perhaps you could begin with looking into the ethnicity pay gap within the accountancy industry, and how that’s reflected at your firm. Review the internal process for tackling racism in the workplace. Look at your supply chain and the brands you work with. Consider the number of black employees you have – particularly within senior positions. Then make changes.
According to a report commissioned by Business in the Community, people from BAME (Black Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds make up 10.3% of the British population and 17% of university graduates. Yet fewer than 1 in 15 were in a senior management position.
Talk is cheap. You could also invest financially. If you don’t want to start a fund yourself, there are plenty of programmes which use donations to support educational programmes for black people in business. And if Covid-19 has hit you hard, support and share the messages of BAME charities and movements on social media.
You could also make a difference by choosing to work with a local black community charity. Or offer office space to black business owners. Focus on grassroots initiatives within the accountancy world. And don’t be afraid to ask other firms to get involved too.
A simple way to back up your values is to update your corporate social responsibility policy to allow for paid time away from the workplace to attend BLM events.
Creating a diverse workforce is also a huge and important step in the right direction. Ensure that your recruitment process is objective and free of unconscious bias and discrimination. You have an obligation to make sure opportunities are available to anyone who wants to progress.
Our message to you is this, while many businesses are quick to adopt a hashtag, your firm – your brand, should go beyond initiatives and gestures. Sadly, we fear the conversation may fizzle out and lose momentum over time. So, it’s the responsibility of the business owner to stand up, own up and stop systematic racism in the workplace.
If you are changing your recruitment process, or you want to partner with a professional recruitment company to help with your diversity recruitment strategy, please get in touch today.
When it comes to all aspects of the accountant recruitment process, we’re the experts – always here to help.
Call 0333 577 7787