The Equity Effect report - Henley Business School Finland

The Equity Effect

On Monday 7 June 2021, Henley Business School published new research into racial equity in UK businesses. Our aim was to understand the reasons racial inequity still exists in workplaces, and the barriers and challenges to overcoming it.

We surveyed over 500 business leaders and 1,000 employees, as well as carrying out qualitative interviews with 22 business leaders and employees from a broad range of industries. Further research was conducted to gather specific business performance and diversity data points from companies listed on the FTSE 350.

Henley academics from a range of research specialisms including HR, leadership, ethics, and organisational behaviour, have analysed the findings and shared their thoughts throughout the paper.

Some of the key findings from the report include that:

  • Factors such as perceived cultural differences (cited by 56% of employees and 52% of business leaders) and a lack of diversity in leadership (33% of employees) are driving racial inequity and systemic racism within UK businesses
  • As many as 22% of employees say they have personally experienced or seen discrimination of some sort in their workplace, with many citing race as the primary pretext (55%)
  • Businesses which actively confront inequity and racism with practical measures, can expect to see an improvement in their employeesโ€™ job satisfaction, loyalty, creativity and, ultimately, value, recording an average revenue 58% higher than those which did not

โ€œRacial equity and business success should not be separate conversations. It is critical to any organisation wanting to achieve its aims and ambitions in this challenging world of work. Of course, we all want to say that racism has no place in business, education or society. But the experience of the pandemic and social movements like Black Lives Matter have shown us that we need to shift our organisational, cultural thinking to ensure we work on racial equity โ€“ not just because it is a good thing or seen as worthy, but because it is valuable and essential to organisational success.โ€

Lead researcher, Dr Naeema Pasha, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Henley Business School

Understanding equity

Racial equity means all employees are valued and treated fairly (even if this means being treated differently) irrespective of their race and culture, under the belief that strength comes through diversity. This includes the elimination of policies, practices, attitudes and cultural messages that foster racial discrimination and providing additional support and services to balance out inequities.

Our lead researcher and spokesperson

Dr Naeema Pasha - Henley Business School Finland

Dr Naeema Pasha – Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Naeema leads on professional development, people and the future of work at Henley Business School, including establishing our annual World of Work (WOW) conference. She created the Henley Hives, a vibrant and productive community of innovative members working on making Henley a better place to work.

Naeema is also Principal Practitioner with the Association of Business Psychologists. She also speaks extensively on side-hustling, future of work and generations, and flexible working such as the four-day week.

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