British Business Excellence Awards

Equality in the City

2020 was the year the world changed. We left the European Union, the global pandemic struck, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer and in amongst the hypocrisy of MP cross-country lockdown journeys Christmas was cancelled.

What didn’t occur was a definitive shift in the corporate world; yes suddenly C-Suite execs were running the business from home, which for most was a completely alien concept, but diversity and equality in the workplace continued at a lethargic rate of growth.

Ernst and Young released recent stats from the updated Parker Review detailing 37% of FTSE 100 companies surveyed (31 out of 83 companies) do not have any ethnic minority representation on their board of directors which suggests the ‘One by 2021’ initiative set out in 2017 is unlikely to be achieved.

With Boris giving the nod for people to get back to the office, this is a crucial time for us all to recognise the hardship, the lack of representation and the demand for equality but actually do something about it. I urge you, as I plan to do, build awareness in your team, be mindful of mental health, and show humility, especially after what we have seen on the world’s stage over the past year. 

The pioneering 30% Club campaign reached their target in 2018 to establish 30% female representation on FTSE 100 boards – this took 8 years and currently still only sits at 36.9%*.
Let’s strive for representation at the top to inspire the youth to apply. The corporate world is no longer a man’s world but it will evidently take time to ensure it’s an equal one.

CPM, KPI’s, job satisfaction and ultimately accomplishment do not have to be compromised as a result of childbirth, we can all work towards an alternative way of getting the best from our employees and ensuring everyone is safely tucked under the wing of benevolence. Happy staff, happy profit graph.

Pre-pandemic, campaigners Anna Whitehouse and Matt Farquharson flashmobbed/ blogged/ instagrammed/ podcasted/ interviewed/ protested for flexible working hours/conditions for parents and fortunately our “new normal” has unconsciously supported this movement; we can work in and out of the office, we can be productive and we can inspire our colleagues… even if we have children to look after.  

I intend to use the Lloyds Bank British Business Excellence Awards as a celebration for all British businesses and businesspeople. For what companies have achieved so far but also as a platform to initiate conversations and inspire the future of the corporate world to envelop change for anyone who may face discrimination. Let’s build a safe space to ignite creativity and progression. 

Change only comes from knowledge and empowerment; collectively we can mould the future to be inclusive of culture, colour and gender. Who’s transformed your work life? How have you ethically flourished in the pandemic? Who deserves the recognition for innovative thought leadership amongst us? I want to empower our nominees to know their worth, share the stage and make a difference. Let’s celebrate community in our new world, something we treasure more closely than ever before.