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23 October 2020

Listen, understand and take action – an update on our race equality efforts

In June this year we announced our plans for supporting race equality and tackling injustice. We did so because social outcomes are at the heart of our purpose and this starts with improving equality for people from all socio-demographic backgrounds. Active listening is core to this. By listening we can start to understand and accept that there are issues that need to be addressed and be in a better position to act.

Since launching our listening campaign, we have had over 1400 colleagues join our ‘Let’s talk about race’ webinars. Presented by external experts from UK’s Business in the Community’s (BITC) Race at Work campaign, the webinars have helped to facilitate an open and safe discussion about race. Supported by comments from attendees and our executive panel, we talked about what ‘race’ means, what language is and isn’t appropriate, and what personal actions are needed to promote race equality. We have since re-committed to the BITC Race at Work charter and have also provided them with a case study on our ethnicity pay gap report and action plan. We are also embedding the ‘Let’s Talk about Race’ model into our business units which is helping to tailor conversations and activity.

Building on this further, we have hosted several action planning sessions on race equality. We have held online ‘listening roundtables’ in the UK and the US where we have listened to the voices of Black colleagues and external speakers, and we heard of the bias and discrimination our peers experience in everyday society.

For me personally it has been eye-opening hearing our colleagues’ experiences and I aim to continue to build my understanding of the issues around racism and inequality. I also know that the dialogue on race will vary by location and already we are discussing this including how it can intersect with other areas such as gender, as part of our reverse mentoring scheme.

This is only the start and we are planning more sessions and will be hosting more listening roundtables on further areas of under-representation and inequality. I’d like to thank our colleagues and speakers for sharing their experiences. I also know their words have impacted colleagues deeply and they are directly shaping our global equality, diversity and inclusion strategy action plans.

Mike Haigh
Executive chair
Mott MacDonald

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