DEI Panel with Trunde Banjoko, Geoffrey Williams and Doug Butler
Below is the unedited transcript from the DEI panel video with Tunde Banjoko, Geoffrey Williams and Doug Butler. Here is the original blog post. Read more:
Tunde Banjoko: Welcome. My name is Tunde Banjoko. I could be described any way you like, but for the purposes of today, I'll say that I'm a social justice advocate. I've founded a number of initiatives that try to make a difference such as the ground-breaking charity Making the Leap, the UK Social Mobility Awards, and our latest venture which is called Black Charity Leaders. On top of that, I also provide consulting services to organizations that want to make advances on race equity within their walls. I had the pleasure of chairing a session called Revolutionizing Inclusion through Business Leadership and Empowering Employees through Company Culture at the 2021 Excellence Engagement Summit which was really well received.
So well received in fact that a number of the questions the panel were asked superseded our time to answer. The main man, Jonathan Burke had the idea of doing a follow-up session, so that we could get into things a little bit more. The panel on the day was Natalie Porter a Social Director of Entity Data, Doug Butler, and Geoffrey Williams. Schedule has meant that Natalie couldn't be here today, but Doug and Geoffrey are. I'm going to ask them to introduce themselves and then we'll dive into the questions. Over to you Geoffrey. Who are you? [laughing]
Geoffrey Williams: As you can see, my name is Geoffrey Williams. I am currently from a job perspective the Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Doctor Marten's. I'm also the Co-founder of Rocking Ur Teens, a social enterprise that focuses on introducing young people to the world of work. One of the many other things that I do, I also sit on your judging panel for the Social Mobility Awards which is always a pleasure and exciting thing to do. That's me.
Tunde: Thanks. Thanks, Geoffrey.
Doug: Great. I'm Doug Butler. I'm the Chief Executive of Reward Gateway. I've been working with Tunde for a little while. Reward Gateway's mission is to make the world a better place to work, and that includes making our own workplace a better place to work. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is an important part of our strategy in our journey and it's a journey we've been on for a couple of years. We still have a lot of work to do. I'm on a personal journey as well, in the same regard. Tunde is helping our business, as well as me personally advance along that journey. Looking forward to additional conversations today.
Tunde: Great. Thank you. We'll go straight into the questions. One of the questions we had was, a company was saying that, the way they looked to diversity and inclusion was through the lens of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. They thought that this was really important to do so. It's a question I'm going to ask you please, Geoffrey, is, "What is the difference for the uninitiated between inclusion and belonging?"
Geoffrey: Sure. The difference between inclusion and belonging is, the inclusion piece is recognizing that you can leverage and pull in lots of different ideas in creative full processes. Create an atmosphere where you're promoting equality, and you're working to deliver results. You're obviously looking at your gender pay, or you're looking at how many individuals living with a disability that you have in your workforce, and making sure you're measuring that, and engaging with it.
I believe belonging is that piece of making sure that all those individuals that then come to work for you have an affinity to your organization. A lot of the time, when you look at belonging, people will say, "I belong to my team, but I don't necessarily feel like I belong in the organization." It's having that difference of them understanding the purpose that aligns to their values, and that they are able to show up and have their voice heard every day. I think that's possibly why that organization is looking at it from a diversity, inclusion, and belonging perspective.
Tunde: I just want to follow up on that. Can you have one without the other?
Geoffrey: You can, yes. You could have inclusion, and people feel like they're part of their team, but they don't feel like they belong in the organization overall, because what the organization is standing for doesn't align with their values. Obviously, people need to work to live, so they are at the organization, but they are not sitting there feeling like they 100% agree with everything that the broader business is doing.
A lot of the time, a lot of people do sit in that space, but when we look at the next generation coming into the world of work. They want to know they're working at places where they can belong, that they trust the values of the leadership, and that they understand where the organization is going. That's becoming more of a need as people look to brands, and look to this type of conversation.
Tunde: What would you say about that, Doug? What have you seen?
Doug: I feel like this was tied up as almost a commercial, but it absolutely was not, this is not scripted. It's funny when I heard the question just now, I'm thinking belonging and inclusion, I'm at a place in the journey where I'll take either one, we're just trying to get better. As I listened to Geoffrey, belonging sounds a whole lot like engagement. Reward Gateway happens to be in the employee engagement business, and we work on engaging our employees all the time.
If belonging is simply an extension of engagement toward diversity, equity and inclusion, then that part we're pretty good at. We just need to get people to engage in this particular discussion and I would imagine belonging will follow at that. It's a natural extension of what we do with diversity, equity, and inclusion being just an extension of that, for us.
Tunde: Thank you. Now, this next question is a really important one, not that they are not all-important. It asks, "How can organizations promote initiatives to address underrepresented groups in their business without losing that sense of inclusivity for all groups?" Which one of you wants to go first with that?
Geoffrey: I can jump in. This is obviously one of the questions in conversations that I have all the time. I would say it's that piece of not doing something specifically for the minorities. If you need to hire more diverse talent, look at your recruitment processes and get to understand why individuals from different communities might not be applying, or look at how you're discussing the opportunities that you have. A lot of the time people feel like, "Oh, we need to diversify, so, ooh, I'm going to go and do a program specifically for entry-level students. I'm going to do one that's just BAME focus, and I'm going to go out and find all these BAME individuals to come and work within our organization."
In reality, nobody wants to be the diversity hire, literally no one. It's that piece of how you're actually building your process to attract everybody into your organization. That's looking at the systems that you currently have, the partnerships that you have, and looking at how you can reflect, and edit those to bring the most widest possible talent base. Also, measuring that fact, looking at where are people coming in, where are people dropping out? In your actual recruitment process, how does that look? And being honest with yourself. Then saying, " Do you know something? We need to do better."
That's more the conversation than the majority versus the minority conversation, which I think that question leans into. I feel that's part of the issue of why we've stayed where we've stayed in this conversation. It's more that piece of, actually let's build things that enable everybody to feel like they are part of that conversation, and that you're able to go into the market and have that authentic relationship with anybody and anyone that could work for your business.
Tunde: Thanks, Geoffrey. What would you say about that, Doug?
Doug: I agree with everything that Geoffrey just said. I heard the question a little bit differently. To me what I heard was a little bit of the zero-sum discussion. Which is if we're putting a lot of emphasis on one group, are we taking away from another? I really discourage that kind of thinking and discussion. What I will encourage is broader discussion. Is if someone else or some other group or individual has an issue that they feel underrepresented, then speak up, and we'll open up that discussion. For me, it's just making sure everybody has a voice and that the conversation is both both a civil one, but also one that doesn't feel as though one party, if there's a focus on one. Trying to support one group, it doesn't necessarily mean you're taken away from another.
Tunde: It's a question that comes up a lot and the point about diversity and inclusion not being a zero-sum game is, is a good one, and it's one that I try and share. If people recognize that increasing the diversity of a business is good for that business and that's properly communicated. If it's also communicated to the majority, to the business, that steps are been taken not at the exclusion of those who are already in place, they're not going to all of a sudden start losing their jobs.
It's about trying to make the business as a whole better and trying to address the fact that there are some demographics that don't have a voice or don't have the numbers in the business. That you want them in there so that the thinking of the business as a whole is better. I'd agree with that. I don't think diversity should be feared, which I think very often it is by the the majority. It's not something to fear, it's something to be welcomed, it's something to be embraced. I think communication, I don't know what you guys think, it plays a really big part in that. Making sure that whatever you do is communicated. Any thoughts on that?
Geoffrey: I would say it's about communication. It's about being transparent about where you are and where you want to get to, because I think everyone moves into that target conversation. It's not necessarily about setting targets. It's about having that transparency to say that, effectively we understand the world is shifting in demographic and representation. We want to make sure that we can reflect that. I think it's also that piece of that we're all diverse, and a lot of time the diversity conversation does come down to gender, race, sexuality, disability. There's so many other facets of how we show up as individuals and the diverse experiences that we would bring to our organizations.
I think being able to, as businesses tap into that part of the conversation as well is how you take everybody along. Sitting here as a leader that works in this space and as a leader in general, is that piece of how do I reflect that back to the people that report into me. Regardless of what my day job is, it's as a leader, how do I show up and how do I make sure that those in my teams feel connected. Again, it's about what I communicate. When I see things happening in society, how do I personally talk about it with those that are in my teams?
Sometimes it's that piece of people will sit there and wait for Doug to say something when they have the power to influence and talk about their ideologies around culture and how they want their teams to show up. It's finding that moment within your culture and your communication style as well, to lean into that. I do think communication is key. I think it's having that moment of, yes, your CEO says something, but then also your leadership and everyone else in the organization also puts their 50 cents on the conversation as well.
Doug: It's interesting, I was listening to Geoffrey and the first thing it reminded me of our first conversation where I said, hello, whether I said it inelegantly or not. For me, talk about diversity, I almost think numbers. You can fix numbers to a certain degree, but if you haven't fixed the inclusion part or the belonging part, I guess if we want to throw that in there, you haven't improved things a whole lot. To your question about communication and Geoffrey answered it pretty much the way I would too.
I think opening up the channels, making it comfortable for people to discuss, but leadership comes in there too. I think part of my role is partly to communicate my own view on things, but also to just demonstrate that I'm communicating. Because I'm in the position I'm in of leadership, basically making it okay for other people to say, or to communicate the way that they want to communicate. Communication is fine, but I think without leadership essentially demonstrating that communication is okay, you might not get as much interaction as you might want.
Tunde: There something that you said, Geoffrey, I always listen to you, I always find, whatever you say very noteworthy. You said about targets, what is your view on having targets if nothing else is working?
Geoffrey: My view is like any organization, you need to have a focus and a direction. The business has ambitions of how they're going to grow, who they're going to bring into the organization, what skills they need. I think the conversation of diversity, diversification of inclusion is a part of that narrative, of what is the future of this business. I feel like you set a aspiration and a target and you head towards that. You monitor it and you make sure that you can see what your successes and your failures are trying to achieve there, and you're transparent about that.
Within the communication that you're sharing, you're telling that story of saying, "We were on a journey to be 50-50 men and women by this date. You know something? We were nearly there, but this happened. We had this transformation with the business. We lost this group of individuals and that's why our numbers have dropped back." It's that piece of continuing to tell people where you're going and why you're doing it. Sometimes people put these targets in place and they sit in this weird removed from the business. However, on a monthly quarterly basis, we are talking about our actual people and what roles we have opening up, and who's coming in.
It's tying those two together and once you've got those tight together, you're able to be in a position where you can just have a different conversation. I'm for the aspiration for the target, but I just feel like it's where you send to that conversation and that it's not just well Geoffrey in the DNI role is now responsible for shifting that. No, that actually goes back into the business and this is a collective thing that we're working towards. These are the goals that we're setting for.
Tunde: Okay, great. Doug, shoot?
Doug: I think the numbers if you will, are kind of a KPI or key performance indicator. We deal with metrics all the time in the business, but I don't know whether it's chicken and egg. To me, you review the numbers and these are the things we review and in our case, we publish. It's more off, I'd rather look at the numbers and say, that's a result of what we're doing as opposed to-- How do I say that? I'd like to believe that the numbers if you will, are a result of a natural course of things based on the culture, based on what you have in the business. As opposed to simply choose a number and trying to get to that number. I don't know if that's clear.
I'm confused myself. I understand what I'm trying to say. I prefer to have a business where I'm looking back and saying, "Look, we've got these numbers. We either need to do better or we seem to be going in the right direction." As opposed to let's just fixed those members overnight without anything around that. Again, it goes back to what I talked about before that, to a certain degree you can fix numbers, but that doesn't mean you've improved the situation. To me, it definitely has to be more than numbers.
Tunde: There was another question that came through, which was, how does an organization make genuine changes to systemic structural racism within the workplace if the people and leadership team only has white members. Which would be the majority of organizations. We'll start with you Doug.
Doug: Well, if you only have white members who aren't interested in it, then you're not going to make any progress whatsoever. If you have only white members at the moment who are interested in it, then naturally I would imagine that they would be setting a course to undo that white-only membership of that course. I certainly am in that camp myself, in white-only, or diversity in general across the leadership. Again, it comes down to leadership actually wanting to make a difference in it.
Tunde: What do you think Geoffrey?
Geoffrey: I actually agree with Doug, that piece of whether the business wants to do the work. Whether the leadership want to engage in the conversation. Whether they are happy facing the uncomfortability of discussing the communities that they may not understand and be willing to go and ask the exam question and try and find the answer. It's also that piece of, once they do that it's creating the right relationships for them to learn. It's not necessarily their money hiring a DNI person, but finding those spaces for them to be educated. It's about the ownership that comes with making a decision and then saying the trajectory of where they want to get to and how they're going to get there.
Tunde: When I read the question and it's one that I've heard in a number of guises whereby an organization barely says it's wrong. Because they're almost paralyzed and don't want to do anything because they're not in the right place to start off with. I think Doug's point is absolutely spot on. It doesn't matter how you start off. If there wasn't a problem, you wouldn't need to do anything about it. The fact is, if the leadership is all white, that's okay, but it's about those people who happen to be white wanting to understand the issue, wanting to understand why up to that point they're all white. Then understand what can be done to over time changing that dynamic. I think the three of us were in agreement there.
There's another question that's linked to that and it may sound similar or may sound the same, but it's actually not. In that if you've got a business that's got possibly a diverse workforce, or maybe it doesn't have such a diverse workforce, but you have a leadership that is not diverse, that is all white is all, that is all male, but wants to do something. If we put it back to a race, how do you square the circle, where you have a situation where by those racialized minority staff that are in the business are less than enthusiastic about engaging in the process. That's quite common, that particular occurrence. Geoffrey, what do you think?
Geoffrey: Let me play your question back to yo, just to clarify that I'm answering you correctly. It's the question of if an organization decides they want to do something in this space primarily focused around race, and those individuals that work for their business decide they don't want to engage in the conversation. What do they do at a go?
Geoffrey: I think it's then you do a combination of things. You need to try and understand why the employees don't want to engage in this conversation. It's those moments of when you already have your engagement survey, looking at the data and understanding what those from the racialized communities are saying within that data. I then think it's finding those avenues to have confidential conversations. Whether it's doing listening circles with an external provider, again, so that you're able to create that safe space. Then two, from getting those bits of insights, then making a decision on what you'd like to achieve.
Then putting that back in front of those individuals so that they're seeing that there's action conversation and a focus that they didn't have to provide. Because I would say, sometimes is that piece of, my business is now asking me for my opinion as one of four people of color in this organization. It encourages me in speak to these individuals, share my viewpoint and then whatever the issue is dies down, then it stops. Then in another, two years time, I'll be back in the same conversation. They don't pay me enough to do this. I don't want to engage. I think it's figuring out that balance of where you're actually going. If you're going to listen to them, you're actually going to take action.
Tunde: Okay, great. Doug.
Doug: Well, as you know Tunde, in our case, as we started this journey or decided to focus on this, it started from essentially just what that question implies. Which is we had a group of underrepresented individuals that probably had something to say, but didn't feel like engaging because it wasn't very productive. They weren't feeling productive and I didn't know that. Fortunately, someone in that team, I was able to discuss it with them and they essentially told me about their discomfort, or the frustrations with even trying to start a conversation.
What do we do? We brought in you to provide, as Geoffrey said, a safe space or to craft a safe area for that particular community or group within the business to speak up in that and to get their voice heard in order for us to structure something. It's to structure a way in which they could-- To start the conversation improvement. For us, and it's been very, very helpful, it was to bring in a semi-neutral third party if you will, or outside of the business third party to help, as Geoffrey said, create that safe space for people to engage in the conversation.
Unfortunately we have a business with a lot of people who care about the business, from across the diversity spectrum. I think that those people were interested in the business. Fortunately I think we don't have a lot of people just 9;00 to 5:00, they're just punching in and punching out. I don't have any time. I don't want to spend any of my personal emotional time talking about this at work. I think for us, fortunately, we have a lot of engaged employees who do bring a lot of emotion to their work. If diversity, equity, inclusion is an important part of their own personal challenges. Then fortunately we have a business where that it's natural for them to discuss some personal stuff-- Not personal, some things like that, because they're so committed and involved in the other parts of the business. That's a part of the culture.
Tunde: I agree with you both. If you find that your minoritized staff are not enthusiastic about speaking up, then it's about being committed to find an avenue that will mean that they feel that they can speak. That when they do speak, it will be taken seriously and be considered. Again, you were spot on Geoffrey. Not only be considered, then it'll be acted upon and not just left and then in two years time when the dude who hits the phone again, then you speak to them again. It's got to be actually, they'll only speak really if they feel that the business is serious about it and committed to making change happen.
Geoffrey: We've learned that lesson. As you know Tunde, we did some work with you a couple of years ago and essentially sat on it and expected it to sort of flow out and to work on its own. In a leadership perspective, we started focusing on other things and expected that to just to work its way through. We had to essentially not start over, but readdress it, reemphasize it. Even to the point recently as a business we talk about, we have a mission, we also have a strategy. We recently in the last six months made diversity equity inclusion a core part of our strategy.
Because all of our employees, they certainly know what our mission is, they know what our strategy is, which is a set of operating metrics. Turning not DEI into a core part of the strategy has been helpful. As you just said, we've learned our own lesson with great intentions, but you have to put action behind your intention.
Tunde: Be consistent. Now you just mentioned the word metrics, it's almost as if by magic you knew what my next question was going to be, but of course, you don't. One of the attendees asked a question, which was, "What does the panel think about putting performance metrics around diversity, equity, and inclusion onto their leadership team." What do we think about that? I'll start with you, Doug.
Doug: That's a good question. I guess it depends on what those metrics are, and not because I'm afraid of whether I'd be on the wrong side of those metrics. I'd be more concerned that the metrics would be misconstrued and suddenly turned into quotas, if you will, or something like that to use a buzzword. Again, I'm not afraid to be measured. When I say I'm not afraid, that doesn't mean the results, that the measurements won't tell me something that says I need improvement.
I'm not afraid to be measured. I'm not afraid to be measured and learn and see that I need improvement. I'm okay with measurement and metrics in this area. It feels a little more touchy if you will. I'm actually looking forward to hearing Geoffrey's response, because it feels-- As I said, I'm fine with metrics, but as I said, it feels a little touchier than most metrics, if you will.
Tunbe: Okay. Geoffrey.
Geoffrey: I'm not too far from Doug's viewpoint. I do think it's that piece of, if you want to change your organization, that is the point where people are going to pay attention if you want to move your organization forward. Is that piece of how do you bake it into the overall business strategy and that it's not just a DNI target. It's a target that aligns to the performance of the business.
I think it's also that piece of how you then build in positive actions out of it, so it doesn't become positive discrimination to Doug's point. That someone starts to hire someone just based on an attribute, because that's illegal and we're not meant to be doing that. It's that positive action piece I think is the linchpin. Then you put it in place for a time with the hope that you've put the action and the target, I don't want to use the word quota. You put target in place and it's there for five years, and then hopefully you've done the work that you needed to do to hit it within that period.
Then you're able to get rid of it and not have anymore, because you've now restructured your organization, and hopefully you have the visual cues of diversity that people think you need, but also those invisible cues as well. That businesses working in a healthy way and growing and booming so people want to come and work for you. I think that's part of the narrative.
I think sometimes it does come down to people just saying, "Oh, well, we're going to set a target, or we're going to set this aspiration, tying into people's bonuses." People go and start creating these really bad unhealthy practices in recruitment, and or in promotions and all those other bits. I'm a firm believer we've got to tie it all together, so that it's consistent, it's authentic, and as I said, it leads to positive action.
Doug: I think I'd add on to that. To me, it feels like metrics are fine, it's what the metric is. The metric is simply, you've got X percent or X percent of your workforce is minority or whatever. I'm not sure that's a super helpful metric to measure on or for performance. On the other hand, if it's something like and I use the term minority. Minority, like NPS, net promoter score or something, some measure of how your minority groups within your business, how they feel about the business, how they feel you're doing. To me, if you're able to get participation in that kind of measure, and if you have that kind of measurement. The numbers should take care of themselves.
It's kind of a balance. I would imagine that if you have a group of a minority population, that's really comfortable in your business, you're doing something right on the inclusion side of things and your numbers are probably okay. It's probably a self-fulfilling number to a certain extent, at least for part of it. Again, I'd say yes to measurement and to metrics, but I'd be more circumspect about what exactly you want to measure.
Tunde: You've just taken my words right out my mouth, that's where I would say I am with it. I think the idea if it's important, then it's something like other important things in people's role. That there should be a way of looking at how an individual is doing around it, but those metrics, those indicators have to be meaningful and have to be considered. Because if not, they only end up with either check-boxing or maybe even making the problem worsen.
The final question that we're going to tackle that was asked after this summit is, "Where do you think smaller startup companies should start when it comes to inclusion and culture." I put that to you, Geoffrey?
Geoffrey: Where do smaller businesses start? I think when you're a small business, you have the opportunity to get it right from the start. I think it's looking at partially how they go to hire. Because all my friends that have created startups, started up in their community and their network. A lot of people they hired, went to the same schools as them, or had a lot of similar experiences. I think it's being able to find that balance of, even though you're just starting bring in some individuals with different perspectives into the mix.
It's also thinking about the culture that you want to have upfront and trying to embed that into how you show up. If it's not a culture of everyone drinking off the wharf, that's a common one that comes up at the moment. Finding the balance to build the culture in a way that whoever you are and whenever you come to the business, you feel like you can belong. It's finding that, and it's also understanding the market that you're building your business in, and who's the available workforce.
Then what you can do to either diversify that and or to continue to trap the widest net into your. Sometimes as I said, you pick your buddies, you start this thing, you're excited that it's growing and it hits this mammoth place. You haven't looked behind you and everyone that you've been hiring, and then suddenly everyone's very similar. Not necessarily in the visible things that we mark diversity by, but sometimes just by the full process, or everybody went to the same school. We've all been taught by the same lecturer so we all understand it from the same perspective. I think it's sometimes building out broader than that.
Tunde: Doug. Thanks, Geoffrey.
Doug: I was trying to picture the situation and you said a startup and a small business, and I'm thinking one or one or two folks and if it's happened it doesn't much matter to be honest with you. It matters, but that's more of a personal choice if it's one or two employees. The person who started the business needs to decide whether they care about it or not. Most startup businesses, small businesses have aspirations to be bigger, and in some cases, aspirations to be much bigger businesses. It takes a realization that if that is your vision, you're going to have more people. We're talking about more people, more problems.
This is not necessarily a problem, but if you're thinking about being a bigger business, then you need to start thinking about ultimately having more people, in which case then this comes in. This particular discussion becomes more prevalent. I don't know where that jumps into the discussion, whether that's 10 employees or 15 employees or 5 employees. I don't know, but I think you need to envision if growth is part of your vision, then you need to start thinking about this particular element maybe early on and you need to put that as part of your vision.
Tunde: When you started speaking Geoffrey, I was nodding. I think in a way, if you're starting a business, you have an opportunity to get it right from the off almost, because you can build this in. You can bake it into the fabric of the organization. Trying to make sure that you have that diversity of thought in the business is something that you just do. Wanting to be a business that everybody could bring their authentic selves to, you can do that from the off. I think in a way that it's easier for a new business to do it.
Ours is not a business, we're a small medium sized charity, depending on whatever way you want to call it. In our place around race equity, I know there's not single person who irrespective of the color of their skin that thinks that race equity is an issue. Because it was just built and decisions and consideration was given around that from the off, and still to this day. It's something we think about and try and make sure that we get right, and make sure that everybody feels included and can bring their authentic self, irrespective of the color of their skin, or their creed, or anything.
Doug: I'm conscious. I'm sorry, Tunde. I'm conscious that in my answer, I implied that DNI is like a problem to fix, and I'm thinking about that situation. If it's a natural part of the way you think, if you're a founder of a business, for example. If DNI is something that's a natural thing you're comfortable with, then it should be a natural extension of how you build the business. I came at that question thinking that it wasn't a natural thing. Again, I'm imagining something in my head, I'm imagining some white guys starting a business like myself, and so it's interesting. I think that, if this is a natural, you're naturally conscious of DNI being important, then as you say, I think it's much easier.
Geoffrey: I think a lot more people are considering that now more so than ever. I did a talk to a bunch of MBA students and it was talking about how DNI is important to the foundation of any organization. To think that I was speaking to some MBA students, is that piece of they're going to go out and probably want to start organizations and or be leaders in organizations. The fact that they're having that conversation at that level as well, I feel like it is something that people are considering a lot more.
We're always harping on about the next generation, I think again, they're seeing our mistakes or our errors in our ways and are being considerate about how they approach this dialogue. Alongside many other issues, how they move the conversation forward. I would like to believe that people creating businesses now are in the big thinking about it.
Tunde: I agree. It could probably add environment as well, as they're starting businesses. These things are in their thinking from the off, and I think it gives them a better chance. The point of the question is, and our response to the question is basically saying that actually in a way it's easier for startups because they can get it right from the off, or start working on it from the off as opposed to trying to retrofit it.We had a call the other day and you weren't there Geoffrey, but Doug was, and Doug asked something as we were talking that I thought was a really interesting question. Even though he wouldn't have known this at the time, it was something that I was wrestling with that at that very same time.
The question you asked Doug, was, how does a leader decide what current events around race equity to respond to publicly? You posed it to me and I didn't answer and I think it was possibly rhetorical, but I didn't answer the time. I will have a bash in a moment. Geoffrey, what do you think.
Geoffrey: I feel like it's not always about showing up externally. I feel like last year, a lot of businesses put a lot of things out on their websites that they in some instances couldn't uphold or didn't have the mechanism to deliver on. I think it's that piece of showing up for your employees and making sure that they know that you can see what's going on in the world. To me that's more important as an employee and as someone working in the DNI space, is that we understand what our organization stands for and how they would support the employee base.
I think the external narrative is if it aligned to your overall business mission and if it's a law firm and you stand for equality in laws, then make a statement. I don't think someone who's selling paddling pools needs to be out there talking about racial equality in the same way as a law firm. I think it's making sure that it does align to what you do and that it feels authentic. I think right now, it's that moment for you to build that understanding of your employees and how they're experiencing. "Last week we had the results of the trial." As an organization, was there a comment on what was happening in the US with the trial internally.
To say to the employee base that you saw the results, some of you might be feeling relieved, some of you still might be feeling quite anxious. We understand that we have our systems, our EAP, we have this here to support you. You can come talk to me, my door is always open. Having that's more important in my viewpoint than the post on your Instagram or on your website. I know I'm not always in the majority with my viewpoints sometime, but that's where I sit in this conversation.
Doug: Since it was my question, can I make it, I don't know how harder? I would like to extend it to even internal. In our business, I communicate with the business all the time. I send a blog at every week talking about it, talking about the business and things that are topical. Yes, the extra external discussion, what to comment on either individually or as a business or not, I get that. You want to make sure those things are authentic and helpful. Even internally, and I'm thinking about just over the last couple of weeks.
I'm struggling with whether it's the trial results of last week, whether it's the anniversary of George Floyd's killing, whether it's unfortunately the new killings that are happening in the US, that happened in the US that are getting publicity. Whether it's the, I can't remember the name of the report, the report that came out from [crosstalk]
Tunde: Report. Correct.
Doug: That report, which felt like something you could discuss it externally, or even discuss internally or something, I that impacted some of our people. Even there, I'm awash with things that I can refer to, and God bless the people who it's front and center, that they live in that every single day in their own skin. That's where I struggle. It's just like, "Oh my God. I can't respond to everything or else I can't do something else." That's a frustration too. There's just a lot.
Tunde: I think you're absolutely right. Geoffrey, I'll come back to you in a second. I think you're absolutely right, Doug, there is a lot. Believe it or not, I have a similar dilemma, what I've found for me is that some things are so massive that one can almost not talk about it publicly, or internally. Of course, George Floyd's murder, which has now been confirmed as a murder. We all knew it was, it has now being confirmed as a murder, or it can be referred to as a murder, was such a thing. It was so awesome in not a good way, obviously, that I think I can understand why so many people found a way to talk about it.
Some externally and as Geoffrey mentioned earlier, you could question about how some of that was done. Certainly internally, there wouldn't have been, I don't think, a serious organization on the planet that didn't have some form of conversation around it after the ensuing protests about that murder. It's like, as a leader, one could spend every week talking about something. I'm not sure, for me anyway that that's useful. One also has to be careful about almost indoctrinating or attempt-- It could be viewed that you're trying to push your views on everybody else. I think as a leader, we have to be careful about that.
If we go back to a particular report that may have come out not too long ago. Let's just imagine there was this report that came out not too long ago. That report, I spent two days of conversation privately with various friends, "Oh, my God, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," but I didn't say a word publicly. I didn't say a word privately or in the organization because it was party political. What helps me is, if it could be viewed in any way-- Basically, the people responded, people's response to that report seemed to-- Those who supported the report, were all of a particular type and party. I felt that were I to speak publicly about it, and beyond those that were in my own circle, that I was in danger of imposing my party politics on others.
For me, I will talk about it publicly if it is so big, that I can't help but talk about it publicly. For the most part, I keep my counsel and have those conversations, keep the door open. Geoffrey said that a number of times, I think that's really important. I keep my door open. I want people to know that my door is open to have any conversations about anything, actually. Many of the other things are going on certainly almost every week in the States and to a lesser extent here. I keep my counsel and have those discussions within my circle unless people come to me.
Doug: Maybe my experience answers my own question to a certain degree. My experience was to reach out to you and ask you what you thought about, there were a few things we talked about. I reached out to a few trusted people inside the business as well, and what they thought, and maybe that's it. It's a matter of communicate or having a discussion with someone else, perhaps more affected or emotionally impacted, whatever it is. Figure out whether, "Is this the one I say something about?" I'm smiling about something that's tragic, given the volume of issues that occur. Maybe it's just a matter of having someone or some group of people that you can trust, trusted advisors in this regard.
Geoffrey: I think it's also the piece of the organizations have foundations and charitable arms. What's that doing and how is that supporting the myriad of communities? I think sometimes everyone flips to the public statement or the donation to X charity. I think we all need to get into that space where we're doing it consistently anyway, without bragging about it, so that when it does come up, we can just talk about anything. We've had a 50-year, or a 10-year relationship with this charity, and they've built and supported this amount of people from X community. We've always been here and we've always been involved in this. It's not just because X happened.
Organizations have to get into that flow as well, because a lot of big businesses are doing some phenomenal things and they just don't talk about it in that way and they don't connect it to the two. It's a reaction to what's going on in the press, but then they forget all the things they've been building year on year on year on year anyway, with their charitable arm or their charitable giving that they do at the moment. I would say it's finding that balance and then as I said, having that open-door policy, letting your employee base know that you can see what's happening in the world, and that you understand that. You understand that there's been a shift.
Anyone thinking about making a statement for the anniversary of George Floyd's murder, you should, because you probably made some commitments to your employee base last summer. You now need to demonstrate that you've honored that as well. I think in that regard, that's an important milestone to remember and to discuss. There's so many things that happen day in day out on this planet, that someone will be affected by. We cannot spend every-- I know, I can't spend all my time writing comms for people about all the various things going on. It's this finding that moment.
Tunde: It's been brilliant. It's been a great discussion, time has flown. I am going to bring it to a close. Geoffrey, thank you so much for joining us today. Doug, thank you so much for joining us today. I really enjoyed the discussion.
Geoffrey: Thank you
Doug: Thank you.
Tunde: Until next time.
Doug: Thank you Tunde.
Geoffrey: Thank you Tunde.
Doug: Thank you, Geoffrey. Nice seeing you all.
Geoffrey: Nice seeing you too.