What does Diversity and Inclusion mean to Lucas Kennedy?

9 September 2021

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Title image of diverse and inclusive hands and what it means to Lucas Kennedy

Following the aftermath of July’s Euro-final, we ask our CEO what Diversity and Inclusion means to Lucas Kennedy along with any insights he might have into his experience with discrimination. We also discuss how Workday VIBE can reduce your attrition rate.

Over half (59%) of Black, Asian and minority ethnic workers believe that momentum behind workplace diversity and inclusion would fizzle out without cases of racism against celebrities…

With this statistic in mind, the public outcry following the racial abuse received by footballers Marcus Rashford, Jordan Sancho and Bukayo Saka should have come as no surprise.

Diversity and Inclusion were once again trending on socials. They were featuring in marketing campaigns and headlining every news bulletin; calling on those not taking the issue seriously to make a positive change. And with a third of our lives spent at work companies were being put under pressure to start the momentum at the office. Businesses began sharing their updated codes of conducts and employee handbooks once more, in an attempt to publicise their inclusive environments, and diverse workforce.

But to truly maintain an ethos of inclusion, a company needs to prioritise diversity and the needs of their employees consistently, not just when it’s trending on social media…

So how do companies implement relevant procedures and authentically communicate their positive changes to the public, so that they’re commitment is validated?

For a long time there were quick fixes to this question… Before positive discrimination became illegal in 2010 many companies were strategically hiring based on minority characteristics in order to ‘fulfil their quota’ and illustrate a multi-cultural team. Not only was this having a negative impact on productivity, but it was also considered unethical to hire under-qualified applicants just based on their minority backgrounds. Not to mention, the higher rates of attrition.

Since the Equality Act was published just over a decade ago, the more ethical method of positive action has now become increasingly popular. It allows hiring managers, who are faced with a choice between two qualified applicants, to choose the one from a minority group. And although completely legal, this approach still does not guarantee productivity or a lower level of attrition.

Coloured pencils representing diversity

If the ethos of inclusion is not embedded into the fabric of a company, it becomes unsustainable…

To foster equality rather than simply implement it like a procedure, it shouldn’t just be an item addressed in the employee handbook or a message from the Head of Diversity, it should be something that the CEO and management team feel passionate about.

So, we sat down with our own CEO, Nigel Dick to understand what Diversity and Inclusion means to both him and his company.

Confessing that he was “no longer surprised but severely disappointed” to witness the aftermath of the euro-final, Nigel spoke candidly about his Mauritian heritage and his own experiences with racism, from the schoolyard to the workplace.

“I’m used to it; I’ve seen it all of my life… As the top goal scorer in my school and Sunday league football team every season, I watched my peers, often underperforming, being offered the trials for the big teams. Over the years, I’ve been called every name under the sun.”

In the late 90s, Nigel’s first job was as an apprentice for a leading telecommunications provider. Working in the heart of Kent, alongside predominantly white, middle-aged men, Nigel often felt as though he was “treated as their inferior” or “skivvy”, rather than an apprentice that was being trained as an Engineer. Due to the numerous racial slurs regularly made in front of him, he could only assume his ethnicity was the reason he was treated differently to the other apprentices.

Nigel explained that in his opinion, having worked in the industry for over a decade now, the technology world is completely different. Yet still, he confessed that in the early days, based on his past employment experiences, he was reluctant to add a profile picture to his own LinkedIn page.

Since getting involved in the IT Recruitment industry, Nigel is yet to experience any direct prejudice and describes the market as a “multi-cultural society.” He hopes that we can look to companies like Workday, as a sign of change to come.

However, he is constantly made aware of the underlying racist tone that still exists in the UK. Something he is often reminded of as his two daughters often face the same prejudice Nigel did as a youngster.

Meanwhile, the technology market continues to publicize its diverse and inclusive climate and is right to do so.

In September 2020, Workday launched VIBE, an analytical tool for organisations wanting to gain an insight into their current workforce diversity and help create a culture of belonging. By utilising Workday Prism Analytics, companies can quantify aspects such as talent acquisition, development, leadership, employee experience and ultimately improve Value, Inclusion, Belonging and Equity within their workforce.

lady on the laptop looking at Workday vibe ebook

Vibe Index is the first B&D offering to use intersections, which are the characteristics of a person’s identity measured against the full employment lifecycle, to give the business an all-encompassing equity score. The figures are then displayed in the form of a heat map to identify the highest opportunity for positive change.

By putting an emphasis on belonging, Workday has the power to improve a company’s attrition rate tenfold. Not only does the VIBE analytic tool make a company’s data easily trackable, but it encourages employee experience surveys, which allows the company to identify gaps and attrition all from one dashboard.

Workday embed equality into the fabric of their culture, with it featuring heavily in their code of conduct. They state that as an ‘Equal Opportunity Employer’ they will not “unlawfully discriminate in any employment decisions including hiring, compensation, promotion, discipline, or termination. This includes discrimination on the basis of protected characteristics.” Incidentally, highlighting their people-first culture as one of their primary values.

office image of diverse staff who work at Lucas Kennedy

What does Diversity and Inclusion mean to Lucas Kennedy?

As LK continues to expand, like our champions at Workday, we invite applications from all backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity and other differentiating factors. When asked about what Diversity and Inclusion means to him, Nigel Dick stated the following:

close up image of diverse staff working at lucas kennedy

“There are many people within the LK team who identify as being from a minority. But that fact shouldn’t matter. For me, I don’t care about a person’s sexuality or what colour their skin is. For me, it is about the person. Can they do the job? Are they committed?

This is where diversity and inclusion become difficult. As a business, you can’t give someone a job just because you’re trying to be diverse. And many companies are doing this. I don’t agree with it, in my opinion, it doesn’t work. We need to be prioritising work ethic. Let me interview that person blind. Can they do the job? Diversity and Inclusion will follow.”

We view Diversity and Inclusion as a more formal concept of belonging. Do Lucas Kennedy employees feel supported in their growth, regardless of their backgrounds? Their response is evident in our consistent and diverse workforce, low attrition rates and signed codes of conduct.

So, if you are a business looking to follow in Workday’s footsteps and embed diversity and inclusion into your foundations, we’ve included some helpful tips for you!

Recruit based on what matters most for the role!

Think about prioritising behaviour and core values over academic records when discussing hiring metrics. Grades and institution certificates are often linked with socio-economic backgrounds.

Make it easier to remove bias!

Interviewing blind may be easier said than done, but technology like Workday’s VIBE index allows its user to objectively address unconscious bias to avoid inconsistency in decision-making.

Become acquainted with the protective characteristics!

By becoming aware of these characteristics, you can identify them within your current workforce, to ultimately ensure that your company isn’t sub-consciously discriminating against certain ones.

Contemplate your branding!

Consciously discuss how your team externally promote your brand. Aspects like your influence within the community and employee culture can attract relevant talent.

top tips graphic showing how to embed diversity into your company's culture
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Written by

Ellenor Pickles 
Digital Marketing Executive at Lucas Kennedy

Lucas Kennedy Ltd
Suite 14, 60 Churchill Square Business Centre,
Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, England, ME19 4YU 

☎ +44 (0)208 658 5525✉️ [email protected]