We are the leaders – hold us accountable!

Post author image. Sandra Kerr

Sandra Kerr CBE, Business in the Community (BITC) Race Director, writes of her optimism surrounding a move to an era of greater accountability and transparency. This combined with planning and leadership will provide the necessary foundation for change.

As strange as it seems – this is the message from the Race at Work Charter 2020 report.  Most of the 114 employer participants included a theme along these lines. I believe this signals a commitment from business leaders to be advocates and allies – to speak up when things are not fair and use data to be as transparent as possible.  Data enables leaders to spark the curiosity of those who are sceptical and who after hearing lived experience stories, wonder if the challenges identified are truly widespread.  

I am optimistic that we are going to move into an era of accountability and data transparency.

‘We are holding ourselves to account and encouraging our employees to do the same’. This is music to my ears, as I believe many people – including leaders – feel accountability is a scary word.  Why is this?  Because a leader willing to be held to account, is in effect, saying that this plan is going to be implemented and its objectives achieved, otherwise, I will take responsibility for failure if it does not happen.  I will bear the negative impact if we do not achieve the goals and targets that we have set. 

However, we know that if there is a robust plan, active leadership with an advisory group, a data dashboard to track progress and resources available when needed, this increases the probability of plans being successful, and the results being positive changed outcomes for individuals. 

I am optimistic that we are going to move into an era of accountability and data transparency. This will help leaders and employers not only keep their promises but provide the evidence that they have done so. 

Employers who have referred to data and accountability in their case studies and quotes from the CEOs from Deloitte, Nationwide and the Cabinet Office are just some of the organisations featured in the report.   

Thirty business leaders sending a letter to the Prime Minister earlier this month to call on the government to implement mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting, is the right thing and will enable other leaders to follow through on their promises to be transparent and accountable.

So, here is hoping that this is signalling a different future for strategy, action planning and tracking progression on equality and inclusion of black, Asian and ethnic minority people in the workplace, in supply chains and enterprise.  Let us not be afraid of accountability.  Let us put the plan, the leadership, the data and resource in place and deliver. 

About Business in the Community’s campaign for race equality

Business in the Community believes every employer must prioritise action on race.

Supporting employers to ensure that ethnic minority employees are represented at all levels. These aims and issue areas enable us to provide the most relevant and insightful support to members. They also inform our engagement with government, industry stakeholders and employers when campaigning for wider societal and organisational change.

For more information on BITC’s framework for supporting employers with promoting racial equality in the workplace, visit the Business in the Community race campaign web page.