Thank you for everything you have done for inclusion in 2020. We look forward to meeting in person as well as online in 2021 to make positive change together.
Covid-19 has upended the way we live and the way we work. Socially, it has revealed the fault lines in our communities. We contributed to a review, led by Baroness Doreen Lawrence, on the disproportionate impact of Covid in terms of infection and deaths amongst ethnic minority groups. Some wealthy organisations and people profited on the back of Covid, while there was a disinclination to listen to experts and an undermining of the pre-existing infrastructure and institutions that could have been bolstered, perhaps responding quicker and more effectively.
For employers, though, Covid was in many ways a barometer for inclusion. Those who had planned or already worked hard at building inclusive cultures, such as global consulting firm AlixPartners, thrived in the face of adversity. Caring for staff in crisis paid immediate dividends. Engagement levels increased. Digital adoption and innovation accelerated overnight.
Black Lives Matter (BLM)
BLM has manifested in calls for change in every aspect of our cultures and communities. It’s become a lens through which we view major global issues – business, politics, health, culture, sport or publishing or tech . Whilst it’s been painful and difficult it’s also been necessary and positive.
While this is nothing new for many of us, the main difference this time is that white people are becoming activated to a previously unknown degree. organisations have been sparked into action, and are now thinking about their very structures through the lens of anti-racism.
2020 US Election
Donald Trump recorded the second highest number of votes ever. Let that sink in. Whilst the end result of a Biden-Harris win may be a positive for the disenfranchised, the climate and more progressive politics, the election revealed a deeply ugly schism in our communities that will take years to fix.
In politics generally, Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and other world leaders have been stricken by Covid both literally and figuratively, and we see the failure of a strategy that failed to be inclusive. When people don’t work collaboratively or as a team, they succeed in the short term only. In this way, 2020 has also heightened our concept of leadership, whether of countries, organisations, or of our own lives.
As this unprecedented year draws to a close, we are presented with a choice in our collective journey. The disturbing option is greater polarisation, more racism and discrimination, and more loss of life. However, if we can welcome greater openness, build deeper trust and invite healthy challenge, we will close the empathy gap. If we are all empowered to listen and hear, to be educated and act, we can all be included.