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Forming a Diversity Action Plan

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Like many organisations, 2020 has been a moment to pause and reflect on the diversity of our organisation. The Black Lives Matter movement that was amplified by the death of George Floyd forced us to ask ourselves whether we were truly anti-racist, and whether we did enough to make our business an ally for people of colour.Our CEO wrote on this back in June, and we took some small, swift actions - a donation to the global BLM movement; an opening of ‘Office Hours’ with our founders for black founders and other people of colour in tech wanting advice and guidance; we also formed a partnership with Weareonetech to help provide an employment pathway off their talent incubator and bring more diverse team members into our organisation. But we also took a view for the longer term, and formed a diversity working group - arguably an action that was long overdue - which spent the summer talking together and with all of the teams in our organisation working on what our longer term goals and actions could, and should be to make PUBLIC a place that was truly inclusive.Some of those actions are familiar to all - training on race, unconscious bias and building inclusive workplaces, which we are embarking on this month, coupled with a renewed focus on diversity in our recruitment. But I am proud of how our teams have methodically explored the issue from every angle of our work, and looked for ways that we can all contribute to our progress. One area we discussed at length was what we were aiming for - and we still haven’t resolved that question, except to say that we should aim to do better, to be transparent about our successes and failures, and to keep testing and adjusting the things we do until we get it right.A case in point is our recruitment. We have long used the brilliant platform Applied to conduct our recruitment, and have doubled down this year on making the best use of its features to remove unconscious bias from our recruitment campaigns and hire based on ability and aptitude. But we are still not seeing people of colour progressing to the final stages of our recruitment. So, we are beginning work to look one by one at the different stages within the recruitment process - the way we write role descriptions, where we build our networks, how we advertise roles, how we structure sift question and interviews - to try to find the points of failure, and make sure that we are not missing out on great talent.What began as a conversation on how we could make ourselves better as an anti-racist organisation naturally extended to wider discussions about gender equality, sexual orientation and disability - and we’ve reflected some of this in the plan, but we have more work to do. This is the beginning, not the end. Our Action Plan is now live on our website, and will be joined by our first progress report at the beginning of 2021. We will aim to report bi-annually on our progress, and share our successes and failures. We hope in doing so we will hold ourselves to account to work hard towards our goal, but also inspire and inform others what might work (or not work) for them. We’d love to hear from others doing similar work so that we can learn from your experiences.

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Sep 20, 2021