Race Equality Week asks us to listen, act, change

This week, 5th-11th February 2024, is Race Equality Week in the UK, with the aim of addressing barriers to race equality in the workplace.

Its Race Equality Week 2024, focusing on listen act change for affirmative action to make meaningful change in the workplaceRun by Race Equality Matters (REM), the annual movement is a positive force for action that unites hundreds of thousands of organisations and individuals across the country for this key purpose.

This year, the theme is #ListenActChange, selected by the REM community and reflective of the need to take more action for race equality rather than relying on words.

It also reflects REM’s ongoing findings and feedback, such as:

  • Only a quarter (25%) of the REM community believes that the organisation they work for focuses on action, change and impact, and not just on words
  • The majority (63%) believe that less than a quarter of allies are actively helping to tackle race inequality
  • Nearly half (44%) said their senior leaders and managers were committed to tackling race inequality, but only 1 in 5 (21%) said they were actually making an impact

Race Equality Week focuses on meaningful change

Race Equality Week is for everyone - it is up to everyone to tackle barriers to racial equality in the workplaceLast year, Race Equality Week focused on the theme #ItsEveryonesBusiness and, for 2024, REM want to build on this with the theme of #ListenActChange designed to “galvanise everyone to focus on taking action.”

They say that, while there has been much listening and discussion regarding race equality in the workplace in recent years, there has been a lack of action and meaningful change.

They want everyone to commit to #ListenActChange to ensure that real change takes place.

Organisations can embrace the theme and help tackle race inequality in the workplace by taking the following steps:

  • Listen to the needs of your people and what challenges they face in your organisation
  • Act – collaborate with colleagues or your internal race networks to understand what actions can be put in place in your organisation to create or enhance an inclusive working environment. Could your organisation try one of REM’s free solutions, for instance?
  • Change – when an individual or organisation takes action, it can inspire colleagues and others to do them same. This helps others to learn and play a part in making a difference for race equality

Explaining the choice of theme, REM says:

“Everyone has a role to play in the fight for racial equality in the workplace, from the top of each organisation to the bottom. The sooner we act, the sooner change can become our reality.”

Take part in a challenge this Race Equality Week

Colleagues are encouraged to call out microaggressions in the workplace during Race Equality Week and beyondOrganisations across the UK can access free solutions, tools, resources and digital assets on the Race Equality Week website, or can develop their own activities.

All resources have been co-created with individuals with lived experience, and two new solutions for organisations have been added for 2024:

  • The 5-day Challenge 2024 – this provides 5 simple daily activities for your colleagues to engage in over 5 days to help employees reflect and take that all-important action to tackle barriers to race equality.
  • #ItsNotMicro – this helps empower your colleagues to confidently call out so-called ‘micro-aggressions’ in the workplace by raising awareness and providing key skills and tools to tackle them.

Organisations, individuals and race networks can also donate to help fund Race Equality Week 2025 and help end racial inequality in the workplace.

Insurance provider Lloyd’s of London is one of the co-headline partners for Race Equality Week 2024. Their Head of Culture, Mark Lomas, says:

#ListenActChange is important because the reality is ethnically diverse colleagues are still the minority in the workplace, therefore it’s everyone’s responsibility to put in place the change that’s needed. Especially allies and colleagues.

“The only way we change is by understanding what has been happening and acting from that is really important because that is the behavioural bit that plays a role. This is the bit where we form our habits, call out microaggressions, be more educated and allow real change to happen.

“What we need is for colleagues, allies and ethnically diverse colleagues themselves to all act together in concert to achieve change. This is why #ListenActChange is so important.”

Further your learning in equality, diversity and inclusion

Skills for Care wants care providers to take part in Race Equality WeekMeanwhile, Skills for Care are participating in Race Equality Week 2024, and encouraging care providers and employers to challenge their teams to drive positive change.

They provide a range of resources to support learning and development within the field of equality, diversity and inclusion and are calling on care teams to:

  • Pick a learning challenge to complete during the week and share their activities on social media using the hashtag #ListenActChange
  • Make a commitment to continuing equality, diversity and inclusivity learning and development throughout the year

First Response Training (FRT) is one of the UK’s largest and leading national training providers.

They deliver a wide and diverse range of training for businesses and organisations across all industry sectors and throughout the UK. Their course range includes training in the fields of health and safetyfirst aidfire safetymanual handlingmental healthfood safetyhealth and social care and more.

Their training is mapped to current UK standards and legislation and follows relevant industry guidelines, such as those issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Skills for care, the Care Quality Commission and the Resuscitation Council UK.

It includes training awards in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as many more subjects.

Based on a common sense, proportionate approach to workplace safety, training helps learners to understand the true benefits of creating a healthy, safe and inclusive environment at work but also underlines how it must go beyond training to ensure a full organisational approach and culture.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“Race Equality Week should serve as a reminder for all employers that if the workplace is not fully inclusive – which includes being safe, supportive and enabling for all workers – then you are potentially missing out on diverse talent, ideas, perspectives and experience.

“Protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees goes far beyond minimising risks to their physical safety and really requires a holistic approach to ensure they are properly supported and have a positive and equal experience in the workplace.”

For more information on any of the training courses that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or e-mail info@firstresponsetraining.com.