May 25th 2021

Black Lives Matter: How companies have approached diversity and inclusion one year later

On 25th May 2020, George Floyd was killed in police custody. It was an incident that sparked protests against systemic racism across the world, and threw yet again, the harsh reality of racial inequality back into focus. 

The power of the Black Lives Matter movement was undeniable and the business world felt compelled to respond in some way. Companies turned their full attention to the issue of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and for the past year, we have seen a massive shift in the right direction to tackle racial inequality at work. 

Big names across the world have put initiatives in place. Airbnb launched “Project Lighthouse” in partnership with civil rights organisations, which includes a team dedicated to investigating and preventing discrimination on its platform through new policies. Google has set a target to achieve at least 30% minority representation on their executive team by 2025. 

But it’s not just these giants that have taken the necessary steps to tackle this issue. Startups across the UK have also joined the fight. Let’s take a look at how some of the innovative companies we have spoken to have approached diversity and inclusion over the last year. 

Approaches to diversity and inclusion 

Creating an inclusive workplace culture  

Paddy Lambros, Head of People at Sensat

“At Sensat, we want to make sure everyone feels included in every step of our journey. An inclusive workplace starts with your day-to-day interactions encouraged by management and leadership. We are striving to create a culture that embraces new ideas, as well as others’ perspectives and experiences.” 

Clair Staines, Group Head of People at OpenMoney 

We are continuously trying to have an inclusive culture in everything that we do. This year we are launching a cultural calendar that celebrates all different religious and non-religious holidays. Our marketing and senior leadership team are also taking a fresh look to see if we are doing our best to represent our customers with diverse talent. We want to make clear that there is no bias in our business.”

Attracting and hiring diverse talent

Ben Wharfe, Chief People Officer at Fiit

We’ve also been very involved in the Black Lives Matter movement to make sure we are sourcing candidates across more diverse backgrounds, as well as removing parts of the process that could introduce bias. I would say that the majority of what’s changed is improvements on how we want to recruit the right people.”

Clair Staines, Group Head of People at OpenMoney 

“We believe that a diverse workplace starts right from how you attract and onboard new talent. If you attract a diverse group of people then they will bring with them their individual ideas, thoughts, and beliefs. And we have such a diverse team that does just that.”

Tilly Firth, Head of People Operations at Impala

“After we got our Series A funding, we really pushed towards achieving a 40:60 female to male split – and this was led heavily by Ben, our CEO. Since then, we’ve not stopped pushing for that split, and have fluctuated between 40:60 and 50:50 over the past year.”

Educating employees on the matter

Josh Graham, Co-Founder and CMO at Airtime Rewards

We have made a point to raise the profile across the business. We now have regular team discussions to understand more about the key topics that have come to light and have put in place regular communications across the team around diversity and inclusion. In our sprint reviews, we strive to build awareness around what is happening and how we can make an impact.”

Enabling diversity through remote working

Patrick Hussain, Talent Director at Attest

We launched an international mobility policy that means anyone can work from anywhere, as we want people to be happy and successful. It’s also been great from a diversity and inclusion perspective as it’s unlocked the conversation around supporting candidates no matter their background and situation.”

Embedding D&I in company values and culture 

Jack Johnstone, HR and Talent Acquisition Lead at Moneybox

“Through our new Inclusion Committee, we have launched initiatives such as running all job specs through a gender bias decoder, establishing Slack communities for LGBTQ+, and engaging with a third party to help set up a mentorship scheme for underprivileged young people. This all feeds back into our team culture of togetherness and inclusivity.”

Tilly Firth, Head of People Operations at Impala

“We also focus on more grassroots efforts. All of this is made easier by the fact that caring about diversity and inclusion is something we encourage and has always been ingrained in the team. We’ve always thought: we’re not too small and we’re not moving too fast to ever care about this, and that has trickled down to everyone.”

The Black Lives Matter protests may have started in America, but the desire for racial equality has spread worldwide. It is no longer possible to bury your head in the sand. No matter the size of your company, there are always steps you can take to improve diversity and inclusion in your business. And it’s this change in approach, as shown by the companies above, that can have a positive, long-term impact on equality in the workplace. 

Diversity and inclusion at Tempo

At Tempo, our fundamental belief is that everyone deserves to realise their full potential and we want to be a force for good and do what we think is right in using our position to open doors that may otherwise have been closed. Check out our dedicated page to diversity and inclusion to discover interesting reads and useful resources on diversity and inclusion in the world of work.