Changing the narrative around D&I with Sonya Barlow

For many, 2020 has been a year of reckoning.

In May we saw the death of George Floyd spark global protests and the rise of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which forced the world to take an inwards look at the structural racism that runs rampant within our society.

We have also felt the impact of BLM go far beyond the confinements of an Instagram hashtag, with organisations taking steps to address their own hand in perpetuating racial bias and placing diversity and inclusion in the workplace at the top of their agenda.

Are these efforts enough? Not nearly and too few firms are actually addressing these issues head-on, most don’t know where to start.

However, the tools and guidance are out there. Change comes from the top-down and challenging unconscious bias in the workplace is a company-wide effort.

Last week, FourthLine Director Dan Waltham sat down with Sonya Barlow, founder of the LMF Network, a non-for-profit network that aims to change the current narrative around inclusion and tackle the lack of diversity within the workplace.

In the Q&A we looked at how unconscious bias disproportionately affects groups within the workplace, whether that is through racial, gender or sexuality. Sonya highlights that "although unconscious bias is within us, we as colleagues or hiring managers need to be conscious of the stereotypes we place upon groups and how that can influence are behaviour towards others and most importantly, how these biases can affect our hiring decisions".

Although to some, tackling diversity can seem like a minefield. However, it is important to recognise that a “one-size fits all” approach does not work. If the last few months have taught us anything is that different groups of people, along with their intersections come with their own oppressive compounds that firms need to address, rather than lumping anyone who “isn’t white” under the BAME banner.

Understanding the various constraints placed on groups of people by society can provide firms the insight in which they can begin to develop a better hiring process as well as foster a more inclusive working environment.

A way to do this is for firms to actively work with diverse communities to access their talent pools in order to be a more attractive prospect to diverse candidates.

Furthermore, taking a closer look at job descriptions and ensuring that the language used is gender-neutral and inclusive is essential in attracting talent from a wide-ranging background as well as hiring for values and not culture.

Coming from a start-up background, Sonya highlights the trend for companies to push hiring individuals who would be a “culture-fit” rather than a hire based on values which can drive away possible candidates who don’t fit the current “mould”.


If you are looking to increase the D&I function within your own workplace, we want to hear from you

Schedule a call

To find out more about Sonya Barlow, check out her LinkedIn profile HERE, or find out more about the LMF Network HERE.

Topics: Insider, Featured, Talent Solutions

September 7, 2020
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Matthew Fitzsimmons
Written by Matthew Fitzsimmons

Matthew is a Marketing Executive within the FourthLine Marketing Team, helping to drive business growth by creating engaging written and visual content.