An update by Tristia Harrison, CEO
The last few weeks have been a time for reflection following the tragic events in Minnesota where George Floyd was killed in police custody. There have understandably been mass demonstrations around the world and many pledges of support for the important movement #BlackLivesMatter.
At TalkTalk, we are committed to supporting those from all backgrounds and will never tolerate injustice or racism. We are proud of our culture where everybody is encouraged to be themselves, to express their views and share experiences. In return they should always feel valued, respected and supported through empathy, trust, and honesty.
Over these weeks, we have been discussing and reflecting as a business, as is a regular feature of TalkTalk’s open, communicative culture.
Speaking with colleagues last week, I said:
“I wanted to take a moment to mark this tragedy and to say that at TalkTalk we will always support those from all backgrounds and will never tolerate injustice or racism. Inclusion is about all of us feeling valued, respected and supported through empathy, trust, and honesty.
“Our employee networks are key to our inclusion ambitions, however, there is not one fix and to be truly inclusive there are many parts that influence positive change.
“I really look forward to building on all that we do and showing what a caring, compassionate business can achieve when it reaches out to help others.”
Our work in the local community
There is of course always more that can be done. Every day we will continue to challenge ourselves to ask what more we can do for our community, our colleagues and our customers. We are proud of our firm commitments to equality, inclusion and diversity, as well as our core value of always doing the right thing. This has led to our work supporting our local community, helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds and living in food poverty; giving volunteering time and space to essential projects, such as PPE production, in the area; and sponsoring places at the University Academy 92, among other projects.
We are now actively looking into what other external partnerships we could foster, which could make a real difference to young people from BAME communities.
We have a wonderfully diverse customer base with varying needs and perspectives and it is our duty to make sure that, as an organisation, we are as diverse as possible, so we can best understand our customers and do right by them.
We also have a duty as an employer. This starts by listening to the views and voices of colleagues who have been sharing heartfelt views and experiences on our BAME network, Empower, which is centred around celebrating colleagues from BAME backgrounds, educating ourselves about their experiences and creating a place for all colleagues to discuss topics help deliver positive change.
We will continue to encourage conversations on this network, listening to the valuable insight it provides and using this forum to consult with colleagues. We will also be running awareness raising events and sessions. A dedicated space for educational resources on race, racism and Black Lives Matter will also be available for colleagues. The resources will be hosted on our intranet, so colleagues can easily access the content 24/7.
We know we’re not yet where we need to be in regard to BAME representation at all levels of the business, so we have committed to improving this. We are signing up to the Race at Work Charter through Business In The Community, with five clear actions to ensure that ethnic minority colleagues are represented at all levels at TalkTalk.
Inclusion training has been rolled out to all colleagues with a focus on inclusive behaviours throughout the workplace. We are also improving our recruitment process, addressing underrepresentation at senior levels by mentoring and developing diverse talent.
Additionally, over the last year we’ve established a relationship with Inclusive Companies a leading membership body specialising in equality, diversity and inclusion, who are helping us to improve all areas of inclusion.
Our colleagues are at the heart of our inclusion ambitions, but we recognise there is no one fix, and everyone’s experiences are different. That’s why we’re working together to drive positive change by ensuring inclusivity continues to be ingrained in our culture with all of us feeling valued, respected and treated fairly.