BT Group’s Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan

In recent weeks there has been a huge amount of energy and engagement from colleagues across BT, and a powerful and growing determination to address issues of racism and prejudice.

That’s why this week we’ve launched BT Group’s Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan. A plan that captures the energy of the current wave of protest and debate, and challenges us to be better.

It is important to remember that we aren’t starting from scratch on our diversity and inclusivity agenda. We already have bold and ambitious plans and we continue to support each of our ten diversity networks across the organisation. However, it’s clear that we need to go further, faster.

Our Ethnicity Rapid Action Plan will be what we hope is the first of many fast-track diversity plans. Designed to kick-off decisive action throughout BT Group, the plan is deliberately selective to ensure that we move fast and deliver meaningfully – we know it’s not a statement of everything that needs to be done to tackle systemic discrimination.

We will focus on four areas where we feel we can make the biggest initial difference – from the Executive Committee through to our apprenticeship scheme:

Accelerating diversity within: We will create a new fast-stream for high potential people from ethnic minority backgrounds, all of whom will be personally mentored by one of our Senior Leadership Team. We will also have diverse shortlists for every senior management role.

Educating and empowering our people: We will introduce a new programme of mandatory race awareness training for everyone in BT. It will be immersive, offer guidance, champion diversity and it will support managers to tackle these critical issues.

Leading by example: We will ensure that every member of our Executive Committee has a greater understanding of issues faced by ethnic minority communities and is equipped to lead the fight for equality. Each of the Executive Committee has committed to either have an ethnic minority reverse mentor or serve as a non-executive director for a community organisation serving ethnic minorities.

Building transparency: We will address the gaps in our own data, encouraging self-declaration of identity, to help us build a rich profile of our workforce. This will underpin the introduction of an annual ethnicity pay audit, backed by action, and a new ethnicity dashboard will enable us to track progress across the colleague lifecycle and set targets for the Senior Leadership Team.

Critically, this is a ‘rapid action plan’ so we will work quickly with a focus on actions, not words, and we will report on our progress.

We are determined to build an open, inclusive culture at BT that celebrates and promotes diversity.

Mike Sherman

Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer and Executive Committee Sponsor of BT’s Ethnic Diversity Network