October 26, 2021

MD of HR rewired, Shereen Daniels, joined host Daniel Fellows for a frank, honest change-fuelling discussion about racism in the workplace

During episode three, season two of Inside your Brand with, host – and founder of Get-Optimal, Daniel Fellows, spoke with Shereen Daniels.  

A one-woman juggernaut, Daniels work is all about anti-racism and HR consultancy as the founder and managing director of HR rewired and vice-chair of the Black Business Association for London Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  All this makes the mother of two a very busy woman.

The 30-minute episode addressed how, in response to the Black Lives Matters demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, the corporate world has outwardly upped its commitment to addressing issues of race and equality in the workplace –but has failed to acknowledge that “racism is a system," said Daniels.

“It isn’t about individual behaviours. It is more than labelling people racist. It is one of the best man-made systems created because, with very little tweaking, 400 years later it is still doing what it was designed to do.

“And what it was designed to do was to produce favourable outcomes for people who don’t look like me.  It started off being based on a view of the world which was that of white, upper-class men, during the Age of Enlightenment.

“That view became the dominant view and subsequently all the systems built-in society {...] were all built on that view – with anyone who is white is seen as superior. When you start to understand that, you then start to understand the power and who has it.”

Daniels continued: “Until you can start to get into that level of exploratory work re what happens in the workplace, we are always destined to keep perpetuating a racist system  – even if we don’t see ourselves as racist.”

This then is arguably the prime reason why there’s been so little actual progress on the antiracism/workplace equity front.

Nonetheless, companies have a responsibility to change and now is the time for employers to listen, learn and commit to action.

For businesses and brands still struggling to get started hiring for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I) DE&I, Daniels shared her thoughts on the actions that all companies, regardless of size and stature, can take.

“We [HR rewired] have a Racial Equity Maturity Model and most companies broadly fit into four levels. If you are a level one organisation, you will take a compliance approach that’s driven from a policy perspective.

“The next level is where you have an intent to be inclusive but the language is very generic and reactive, rather than proactive in terms of steps you take to be inclusive.

“Level three is an organisation that has a strategic focus and specific commitment {...] and level four, which is less than five per cent of companies,  is where there is public and private accountability [...].”

If you are a business owner reading this blog or listening to the episode and thinking ‘yes we need to move the needle,’ then HR rewired has “an equity and inclusion test,” shared Daniels.

She said: “It's a free test and really simple – you just answer a few questions and, based on how you answer the questions, we give you some advice on where to start.

“Even if you never saw me again, you can still get something of value which is one of our guiding principles: to always try and inform.”

Catch episode three of season two of Inside your Brand over on Get-Optimal’s YouTube channel.

Consisting of 25 weekly episodes, season two of Inside your Brand is focusing on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I) and Accessibility in the 360-degree sourcing, hiring and onboarding process.

Episode four focusing on disability hiring and featuring Julie Sowash, executive director of Disability Solutions, airs on Thursday May 27.