Focus on leadership

We are focussing on leadership and its vital role in creating diverse and inclusive organisations.

We will examine how societal and structural racism continues to impact on BAME employee progression. We will also focus on the business case for inclusion and focus on the role of leadership in breaking down the barriers that currently exist.

The resources are designed to provide an insight into the issues that BAME employees face but will also provide some tangible solutions that can be readily employed to overcome them.

What makes a difference?

When asked what would improve their career progression by the CIPD,  BAME employees were much more likely than white British employees to say that seeing other people like them that have progressed in the organisation, and a greater diversity of people at senior levels in their organisation, would help boost their career progression. 

In addition, a quarter of BAME respondents for whom mentoring is not currently available said it would be beneficial to them in their career, significantly higher than the proportion of white British employees who said this.

The same research found that “employees from Indian / Pakistani / Bangladeshi and mixed-race backgrounds are more likely than white British employees to say having a mentor would help kick-start their career”.


Guidance and advice from a senior figure like a mentor could be the difference between an employee progressing in their career and not.

Simple initiatives such as mentoring programs, training and development courses and stronger employee networks are ways that workers from BAME backgrounds can better progress and further their careers.

Reverse mentoring

A reverse mentoring scheme is a pairing between two members of an organisation from different teams at different levels of experience. Essentially the two should be paired because they can learn from on another. One of the benefits of a diversity based reverse mentoring relationship is that it pairs people who might otherwise not come together.

These relationships can be profoundly transforming for both parties promotes a culture of inclusion in an organisation where everyone matters.

In contrast to conventional mentoring schemes, reverse mentoring endures mutual benefit to both the mentor  and mentee. The mentee gains new skills and perspectives. The mentor gains valuable insights into company culture, values, business strategy and can tap into years of industry experience accrued by the mentee.

Reverse Mentoring Program Northamptonshire Healthcare Trust:

Read Sam Balch’s Civil Service Race Champion Blog at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on his experience of reverse mentoring.

Invest in Cultural Intelligence Training

Cultural intelligence (CQ) is a critical part of setting yourself apart in today’s globalized world of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and innovation. It is the ability to relate and work effectively with people from different cultural backgrounds and it goes beyond existing notions of cultural sensitivity and awareness.

Cultural Intelligence is the perfect antidote for overcoming cross-cultural differences, improving workplace communication, building solid business relationships and contributing positively to your organisations goals. It aides an  understanding of the impact of an individual's cultural background on their behaviour and is essential for effective business, and measuring an individual's ability to engage successfully in any environment or social setting organisation's bottom line.

Invest in Unconscious Bias Training

Unconscious bias occurs when people favour others who look like them and / or share their values. For example, a person may be drawn to someone with a similar educational background, from the same area, or who is the same colour or ethnicity as them.

Unconscious bias at work can influence decisions in recruitment, promotion, performance management and staff development and recognition and can lead to a less diverse workforce. Employers can overlook talented workers and instead favour those who share their own characteristics or views. It could be discriminatory when the unconscious bias relates to a protected characteristic.

Unconscious bias training will enable employers and employees to understand the impact of unconscious bias on their working lives and become more aware, less biased and more inclusive.

Page updated: 24/09/2021 Page updated by: Gloucestershire County Council

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