As we celebrate Black History Month it’s important to understand how we can do more as a society to create better environments for everyone that are diverse, inclusive and representative. 

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Businesses have a huge influence on society, as the workplace is where people spend most of their time, it controls the people they are around, and the conversations they are subjected to. So it is crucial that businesses lead by example by creating an environment where everyone is welcomed, treated with respect, and offered the same opportunities - which unfortunately not all workplaces adhere to. 

As this year’s Black History Month theme states, ‘Time for Change: Action, Not Words’ - It’s time for businesses to make diversity and inclusion more than just a tick-box exercise, and begin to truly understand how they can make their workplaces more diverse. The key to this? Recruitment! 

The way you handle your recruitment process will enable whether or not your workforce is diverse. From the language used in your job advertisement, to the workplace facilities overall. 

We caught up with Christopher Kenna, founder of Brand Advance, and Ideas Fest speaker, to discuss how businesses can do more to create diverse workforces today, starting from the recruitment process….. 

“Reaching diverse candidates is actually easier than many think,” he said. 

“You just need to put the jobs in front of these communities and they shall apply. Look at where you currently place ads and make that list as diverse as possible. Underrepresented media and blogs are also great places to post your adverts - it’s cheap or often free and can get seen by the demographics you’re wishing to entice.”

Once you have reached the diverse audiences you are hoping to attract, it is all about how you can make the applicant feel that this is a place they want to work, they will be accepted and understood.

So, how can you ensure that you’re making your workplace a safe space for everyone? 

Christopher says, “Listen - and don’t assume that your policies work. Actually, from day one assume that they don’t, and work with consultants, and with your employees from these marginalised communities to mould them to bring the best out of each community. At Brand Advance Group we now have 15 different types of contracts, because that’s what we needed to do to cater for everyone.

“Pay them equally - if you want to entice and retain staff don’t assume your black colleagues won’t discuss wages, we all do it and to find out you’re being paid under all of your team will breed discontent - and word travels FAST!   

“The power of problem-solving that comes from diverse staff bringing many different life learnings and aspects is a superpower! - it has helped us grow extremely fast, globally and will you - just let it !!!” he added.  

Find out more about Black History Month and educate yourself on the subject here: https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/