Our year has began with a bounty of activity, and as we hurtle into February I’d like to spotlight a few key themes throughout January.
We spent our first day of the new year on a farm with our Charity Partner Key4Life. We unpacked and pieced together the emotional resilience toolkit, used on the rehabilitation programme for the young men in judicial custody. It was an incredibly moving experience as some of the young men recently released, joined us to share stories of their extremely difficult background, unfortunate choices and how the programme has helped turnaround and in some instances save their life. A very powerful day. An apprenticeship, work placement or employment is life changing for these young men and we are proud to support.
We have also met with numerous clients this month, ranging from 20,000 employee population size down to >500. All whom share the same interest in understanding how to effectively talent scout. Talent leaders who made investment in pipelining and market mapping often found low conversion rate when it came to a live vacancy and we were able to share insights, best practice and lessons learned to increase greater success of conversion.
This month could not be bought to a close without also reflecting on the recent travesty of Vanessa Nakate. The 23-year-old Ugandan activist had appeared with other prominent climate activists, including Greta Thunberg, Loukina Tille, Luisa Neubauer and Isabelle Axelsson on a panel at Davos. These are the words of Vanessa, after she addressed a tweet to the Associated Press asking why she had been cropped out of a photo they posted.
“When I saw the photo, I only saw part of my jacket. I was not on the list of participants. None of my comments from the press conference were included,” she said. “It was like I wasn’t even there.”
Some media outlets went as far as to remove her name as a speaker on the panel. In response to the claims of erasure, Associated Press announced an expansion of their diversity training programme worldwide to address the issues raised by Vanessa Nakate. Whilst “more training” is often seen as the solution in cases like this, unfortunately if we are to evolve our understanding of inclusion and the value and importance of diversity, we must go further than simple training modules; no matter how eye opening they may be.
We know that people operate within their own perception biases. They are attracted to people who look, act, and think like them. If companies do not proactively focus on diversification, they end up with teams of people who think and act alike. So, when you start to dig under the fabric of the Associated Press as an organisation, it’s not too difficult to see why maybe the voices of Black, or non-white, contributors may be marginalised: on a board of 17 people, there is one non-white Non-Executive. Furthermore, on an Executive leadership team of 7, there is only one leader who is non-white.
The harsh reality is, if this was a shortlist of candidates on paper it would appear fantastic as there are four females. However, through nothing more than inherent bias, the ethnically diverse woman would not have made the cut for consideration, removing the opportunity of selection to interview.
Too often we accept a socially acceptable picture of diversity as progress, but we should be asking who is still being cropped out and why. We can’t have real discussions around discrimination within our recruitment processes without making those responsible for procuring shortlists accountable for minimum-viable-outcomes.
If January is anything to go by 2020 is going to be an illuminating year for greater expectations, outcomes and responsibility from those who attest to champion and empower diversity.