£127bn – now that’s a huge number!

What if we told you that this year, your business might have it’s name on piece of that? Exciting right? Especially with the economic concerns we’re facing in the UK and around the world.

But believe us when we say you don’t want even a tiny bit of this rancid pie.

Because this number represents the cost of discrimination to the UK economy. That’s a 2018 estimate of lost output caused by gender, race and sexuality-based discrimination. With all the stories we’re hearing about many companies ineffectively handling microaggressions and flexible working leading to ‘quiet-quitting’, ‘loud-quitting’ and ‘rage-applying’, that number is sure to be higher now.

Worse still, that £127bn doesn’t include the cost of lawyers for tribunals, tribunal payouts, reputational damage (which will impact the quality of people you recruit and also your sales), cost of advertising new roles and recruiting people and onboarding and training new colleagues.

Why are we telling you this?

2023 is going to be a tough year. This means L&D budgets will be the first thing to get trimmed down.

The thing is, the money you spend on EDI training – specifically in training your leaders and managers to handle microaggressions – is a rock solid way to reduce the reputational and financial risk you face from workplace situations becoming messier than they need to be.

Why do they become messy? Because your managers still don’t know how to deal with microaggressions occurring in their teams, and definitely not when they are the ones who have committed the microaggression. And that’s because they don’t know how to receive difficult feedback about how their behaviour has impacted a colleague. Whether that’s due to a person’s class, sex, race, sexuality and more.

‘Employment tribunals where defendants claimed their remarks were just banter rose by 45% in 2021, according to research from law firm GQ Littler.’ (Source: HR Magazine)

So many instances (not all) of thoughtless interaction end up as tribunals because people try to defend their words by saying ‘it was just a joke’. A lot of these situations (once again, not all) could have been handled long before reaching the tribunal stage.

But where it usually falls over is when the situation is taken to a manager. Who then either dismisses it entirely – which breaks trust with the person who was on the receiving end of the ‘banter’, or the manager immediately raises a grievance – which breaks trust with the person who committed the microaggression. There are steps that need to come first. But do your managers know what they are?

So we don’t think it’s a good idea to cut your budget for training managers on:

  • The Equality Act and the Protected Characteristics, and
  • Microaggressions

‘But budgets are limited and we’re worried that 2023 is going to be a stinker’

We understand.

We know your CFO has competing priorities and stakeholders who need to be satisfied.

But do your stakeholders (CFO and beyond) have all the information they need before scrapping the EDI learning budget? Are they aware of the reputational and financial risks caused by tribunals? Or do they think EDI is fluffy and unnecessary?

Because, we’ll tell you what… it most definitely isn’t fluffy.

Contact us for information on our sessions on Working with Inclusion and Respect, and Microaggressions.