Race Equality Week 2023
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People are at the heart of business. It is important to have a diverse workforce and strive to build and maintain an inclusive culture no matter the size of your business. As a small business you might not have the employee numbers or resources to set up any formal networks or support groups, but there are some steps you can take to create a more inclusive environment. In this blog we’ll discuss some small changes you can make to be an inclusive employer.

Race Equality Week 2023 is from the 6th – 12th February and provides a timely reminder on the importance of reviewing your company culture, to ensure your small business is doing as much as possible to be an inclusive and diverse environment and a place your team love to work.

What is Race Equality Week?

Race Equality Week is an annual UK wide movement aimed at uniting individuals and businesses and encouraging them to address the barriers of race equality in the workplace, to make sure all employees feel valued and welcome in their place of work.

What is this years’ theme

This year the theme is ‘Race Equality is Everyone’s Business’ – because tackling race inequality is everyone’s business.  Commitment is not measured by words; it’s measured by outcomes and actions.  Individuals make a public commitment, which is measurable and to which they will be held accountable to create a positive change that benefits everyone!

Sign up for the 5 day Challenge?

The Race Equality Week website has launched a free 5 day challenge that any business or individual can sign up to take part in. You could consider taking part in this yourself and encouraging your colleagues too. The challenge consists of 4 days of reflective questions, ending in a day 5 promise to take some action to demonstrate your commitment to removing barriers to race equality in the workplace.

You can find out more about the 5 day challenge here. The aim of this challenge is to encourage individuals and businesses to reflect on and increase their awareness of the barriers to race equality in the workplace.

The daily challenges encourage reflection around our friendship circles and how we can increase their diversity, how we can look at our language and avoid micro aggressions and how we can take the time to make sure we are pronouncing all of our colleagues’ full names correctly. The challenge also asks us to reflect on how we can become anti-racist as opposed to not racist.

Lots of food for thought and we will certainly be encouraging our team to sign up for the challenge at citrus HR.

Equalities Act 2010

As well as getting on board with Race Equality Week 2023, it is also a great reminder to review your obligations as an employer under the Equalities Act 2010. As a busy small business, whilst you would never consciously create barriers or actions that lead to discrimination there are still lots of preventive measures that you need to put in place.

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Policy

It is important, even if you only have a few members of staff, to have an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion policy in place. This will make sure that all employees and contractors or consultants that work with you know that you will not tolerate any discrimination against anyone based on any of the 9 Protected Characteristics. These are age, disability, gender re assignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

This includes direct discrimination such as bullying and harassment because of a protected characteristic or indirect discrimination such as making it a requirement to work full time that may indirectly discriminate against women who do a disproportionate amount of childcare or caring for relatives and may need more flexible hours.

As an employer, you can be vicariously liable for any acts or omissions of your employees, so it is important that you make sure that all of your employees and contractors are aware of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Policy.

You could also consider putting in some formal training sessions on this and it is always advisable to make sure that your line managers are aware of their responsibilities when dealing with recruitment or managing other HR processes. Do beware of treating the subject as a tick box exercise, which one off training can resolve, as this is very unlikely to lead to meaningful change which is what will really benefit your team and company culture.

Inclusive Culture

Building an inclusive culture involves a lot of strands. Individual behaviours, line managers with the right capabilities, senior leadership behaviours and support, analysing policies and practices and looking at your organisation’s values are all important.

A simple practical example – when planning an event or celebration you should be mindful of people who may not drink alcohol or eat particular kinds of food and make sure there are suitable alternative options available.

Be aware and supportive of colleagues who may find social occasions difficult, for whatever reason. Not every event has to cater to everyone’s tastes some may never enjoy a large party, but you could consider having a range of different kinds of events across the year that will appeal to the widest number of groups of people in your business.

A great way of checking in with how inclusive your culture feels to your employees is to ask specific and regular questions via a Pulse Survey that lets your employees remain anonymous.  The citrus HR software has a great feature for conducting Pulse Surveys at the click of a mouse.

If you would like to discuss an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy or strategy, our HR advice service helps to ensure you are compliant with the Equality Act 2010 and offer you advice on a range of employment law information. Get in touch with our team today at help@citrushr.com to discuss how we can help you.

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