The death of George Floyd has prompted a global outpouring of grief and anger that businesses, as an integral part of society, cannot ignore. Peaceful protest should be a catalyst for both self-awareness and action by companies.
Many businesses, if they interrogate themselves, will find they have sometimes failed in the past to promote diversity and inclusivity in all its aspects. This includes the IoD. This cannot be an excuse for inaction, however, it must spur companies to change.
It is right to challenge old assumptions and old ways of doing things. Values must be refreshed and re-interpreted in light of new knowledge and understanding. The motto on the IoD’s Crest, ‘Integrity and Enterprise’, will have meant something different to our founders in 1903, but it can serve today as a reminder that no director and no business can claim to act with integrity if they discriminate against anyone based on who they are.
As those responsible for their organisations, directors can be drivers of change. We recommend all directors consider taking the following steps:
- Listen carefully to unheard and underrepresented voices.
- Aim to make your board and organisation diverse, representing society around you.
- Implement a diversity policy to combat inequalities.
- Develop diverse board members and senior staff through mentoring or apprenticeships.
- Implement diversity KPIs for the organisation.
- Publish ethnicity and gender pay data.
- Acknowledge our own privileges as a catalyst for change.
- Collaborate with others, such as clients, suppliers, Government, industry associations, NGOs to address the imbalance.
The IoD Board