Racial Equity vs D&I: Why FLAIR focuses on race

At FLAIR, our mission is to build a world where all ethnicities can thrive.

Contributing to eradicating racism on any level is not for the faint-hearted. Racism is brutal, personal, complex, and is still alive today, especially in our workplaces.

The plethora of programs and tools used for DE&I are insufficient for racial equity work. They barely scratch the surface of the nuances and complexities of racial injustice. Often simply adding new guidelines or questions to existing processes. Moreover, these initiatives do not address the root causes of racism; consequently, they have been unsuccessful in driving change at a systemic level.

For racial equity and inclusion efforts to be effective, we must focus on creating targeted and data-backed action to beat racial bias.

Racial equity is so nuanced that it requires deep levels of expertise to navigate. We believe that any organisation that wants to make meaningful change in racial equity needs to partner with specialists in the field.

Is FLAIR the first organisation to design a survey focused on one protected characteristic?

When we created FLAIR’s survey, it was heavily influenced by Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index (see more here). The Workplace Equality Index is the definitive benchmarking tool for assessing LGBTQ+ inclusion progress in the UK.

The core part of the Index is The Staff Feedback Questionnaire. This is a survey that participating organisations send out to all of their staff about their experiences, attitudes and skills related to LGBTQ+ matters. It’s primarily a tool to help employers understand the impact of their LGBTQ+ inclusion strategies.

Leading organisations participate yearly in Stonewall’s index (see 2022’s, top employers). The feedback from participating organisations consistently shows that the specificity of the data has helped make much more targeted progress in creating LGBTQ+ friendly environments.

With this in mind, FLAIR wanted to achieve the same organisational insight within racial equity.

>> DOWNLOAD REPORT: Getting started with your racial equity strategy

Does FLAIR account for other protected characteristics?

To truly become racially equitable, we believe organisations must look at racial equity from an intersectional lens.

To help them achieve this, we collect demographic information about a range of protected characteristics, including age and gender. This allows our clients to interrogate how views and experiences related to race vary for those with multiple protected characteristics.

Further, we advise our clients to understand how they are faring across the whole D&I spectrum. However, for those organisations who have made verbal commitments about racial equity or who have had challenges historically in creating racially inclusive cultures, we feel that racial equity requires targeted action.

What are others saying about approaching racial equity with a specific focus?

“Organizations cannot afford not to do this work, but they also can’t enter into it lightly, under the misconception that a training or workshop checks the box. True racial equity and inclusion work in the workplace must look unlike anything we’ve done in past decades, because we’ve consistently failed to tackle racial inequity at its deepest roots. But we can start today, by bringing our fullest selves to the offices and desks where we spend most of our waking lives and empowering each other to do the same”. Harvard Business Review (2020)

Addressing racial equity is no longer optional for many organizations. Businesses are increasingly being held to a different standard by consumers and employees alike: a company’s actions (or inactions) around racial equity matter. According to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer survey, 42 percent of respondents said that they have started or stopped using a new brand because of its response to calls for racial justice within the past year.
Yet despite the best of intentions, many companies still find it difficult to figure out how to develop a clear and effective strategy for addressing racial equity”. Deloitte (2022)

Next steps?

Organisations must do this work, but they must do so with a fresh approach. It’s time for new ideas and innovations in the space because what has gone before was never successful in tackling racism at a systemic level.

We'd love to chat if you want to discuss how FLAIR can help you harness the power of data to advance racial equity and drive successful DE&I strategies within your organisation.

Getting started with your racial equity strategy in 2022