Tiffany Manteaw, from our Race Advisory Panel, talks about addressing diversity issues in tech and how we should approach levelling the playing field.
As part of our Digital Transformation division, and through conversations with my own professional and personal networks, I’m acutely aware of the challenges in recruiting women into STEM roles, especially Black women.
My view is, if we want to increase inclusivity, we need to start by asking what support is being given to the Black women that are already in our workforce.
What would they (honestly) say about their experience? How able do they feel to fulfil their aspirations in your team? Addressing those questions is how we start encouraging attraction and retention.
There is a need for targeted efforts in this space because there is a specific imbalance that needs to be addressed.
It’s there in the data, not just in Tech, but across Financial Services, and further afield.
If we play out the scenario where we believe everything is truly meritocratic then what’s being said is that the FTSE 100 has no Black CEOs, CFOs or Chairs because there are no Black people with the talent, aspiration or skills for those positions. It goes without saying – that’s simply not true.
We have to be honest about the presence of bias in order to do something about it. And if that something is done correctly, everyone benefits. It’s extremely important for all kinds of people to understand that they are welcome into positions of visibility, leadership and responsibility.
Leaders must lead by example and welcome difference. It’s important for leaders to actively build trust and connect with those in their teams in order to bring the best out in all of them.
Leaders set the tone for the culture. Even what you choose to show up for and what you don’t conveys a message, and people are as attuned to that as they are to anything else.
I’d also add that leaders need to be prepared to operate in a world where customers and would-be employees care increasingly about the humanity and care shown by corporations.
The importance of role models
Role models are critical. Every member of the Race Advisory Panel has been appointed because they are recognised for their involvement in inclusion and diversity work, so they are certainly all great role models.
Outside of the Group, I’m really inspired by the people that I mentor in the community: young talented individuals with strong ambitions who are willing to make brave choices.
One thing that has stuck with me is the attention my mentees pay to how inclusive organisations are.
They look for depth in the evidence, going beyond what is said to other key signs, such as, who is selected to represent the organisation and their level of seniority. They’re making conscious choices on where to spend their money and where to work.
Levelling the playing field
All of this is about creating true equality of opportunity and a level playing field.
Addressing race more fully at Lloyds aligns with the great work already underway to understand how to better support women, disabled people, the LGBT+ community and working parents.
It also aligns with the progress being made in terms of meeting that human desire for more autonomy through initiatives like flexible working.
What we’re seeing is a shift towards a working world that more readily welcomes the humanity of its workforce. Imagine what people could achieve in the psychological safety of that. How empowering that would be!
Sometimes we will need to rewrite the rules where we find them to be counter to our aspirations as an organisation. Doing that is how we will keep our people engaged and stay relevant to our customers for the next 300+ years.
Our Race Advisory Panel – made up of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues – has been established since August 2020, influencing as a group and consulting on an individual basis across the Race Action Plan commitments.
Throughout 2021 we’ll be speaking to some of the panel members to get their perspective and find out how things are progressing.