Reflecting on the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd

Date Published

25/05/2021

Reading time

2mins

Author

Jon Lewis

The murder of George Floyd was indisputably one of the great tragedies of our time. His horrific killing, its global impact, and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement led quite rightly to a renewed focus, across every country, society and workplace, on tackling the pernicious and still unresolved issues of racism and discrimination.

For many people, including Capita colleagues and myself, the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death has marked an important and chastening moment for reflection. At Capita, we have to admit that we were too slow to acknowledge the significance of his killing and what it meant, especially for our own company and people, and to properly grasp how to react and start to change. The last year has been at times, also quite rightly, an uncomfortable and challenging journey for our organisation – and it is a journey of meaningful change that has only really just begun.

The starting point was for us was to recognise that we were clearly not delivering on our purpose of creating better outcomes for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues, in particular those of Black heritage. We also did not have enough ethnic diversity in our workforce, particularly representation at the most senior levels. Simply, we needed to take action, if we were to create an inclusive workplace.

In June 2020, we began a programme of listening sessions, attended by more than 2,500 of our colleagues, to understand their lived experience, how they felt about Black Lives Matter and what we needed to change in our business. Contributors to these sessions gave us invaluable insights which underscored the urgent requirement for us to improve our systems and culture.

Following the listening sessions, our BLM Advisory Group was established. The group used the insights we had gained to help shape how Capita should change and set three corporate commitments for us to deliver on:

  • Ensure an inclusive culture with zero tolerance to racism.
  • Have a sustainable representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues, reflecting the communities we serve, in all levels of the workplace.
  • Educate and raise awareness of racism in the workplace and through the power of our networks.

 

In collaboration with our HR team, the BLM Advisory Group took each of these commitments and broke them down into objectives and tasks for the business to meet. We have now started to make changes, including:

  • Rolling out anti-racist training to all our colleagues.
  • Implementing a new company wide anti-racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying policy and procedure.
  • Developing a new licence-to-hire training module to help managers recruit in a consistent and unbiased way.
  • Instituting a new mutual mentoring scheme, designed to bring together colleagues from ethnic diverse backgrounds and help managers better understand the daily issues faced by diverse colleagues.
  • Reporting our ethnicity pay gap – this will be reported on annually, alongside our gender pay gap reporting.

 

I sincerely believe Capita has begun to move in the right direction – and want to thank everyone who has played a part in getting us to this point.

However, I also want to acknowledge that we still have a long way to go. We have yet to see progress in our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic representation reflecting our communities, especially at senior levels. This is something we are deeply unhappy about and are working urgently to address, as we seek to ensure our organisation is a truly inclusive workplace where all colleagues, regardless of their background, can fulfil their potential.

The anniversary of George Floyd’s death makes me, personally, very aware of the many changes that we still need to make – and I hope it continues to drive all of us to deliver lasting change.

Written by

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Jon Lewis

Chief Executive Officer

Jon is responsible for the overall management and development of Capita, managing and developing the business to achieve the company’s strategic objectives and return the business to organic growth.