When George Floyd was brutally murdered on 25th May 2020, it sparked an international reaction. Protests took place the world over, demanding justice for Floyd and for Black lives everywhere. Companies rushed to publicly acknowledge the Black Lives Matter movement and state what they were doing to tackle racism.
Vanti was not one of those companies, but internally, many conversations were taking place. These ranged from us voicing feelings of overwhelm, sadness, anger, and frustration, to sharing resources and discussing what we as individuals and as a business could do to be more proactive in our own fight against racial injustice. This led to the creation of our Tackling Racism group, which has met every week since the beginning of June to set out our roadmap for the work we want to do.
As a company with a reputation for being progressive in terms of both our utilisation of technology and how we treat people, it was vital to us that we approached this with our characteristic care (it’s one of our five Vanti Values for a reason), which is why we have taken longer than others to publicly share what we’re doing. This work is going to be a long-term endeavour, and we needed to take the time to plan how we can deliver on our intentions in an authentic and sustainable manner whilst not losing momentum. It was not a conscious decision to keep our activity private up to this point; it just was more of a priority for us to get the groundwork done instead of engaging in anything performative.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve discussed:
- Why we want to actively fight racism as a business (and what happens if we don’t)
- Our visions and aspirations for this work
- What tangible outcomes we want to achieve
- The challenges we may face along the way
- Our guiding principles to ensure we carry out this work that feels true to Vanti
Here’s a snippet of our roadmap – click to zoom in:
From that, we’ve broken down the activities we wish to carry out into six focus areas:
- Foundations: setting out why we’re doing this and what we expect in terms of outcomes and engagement; building a shared base knowledge and code of conduct
- Education: learning about our own unconscious bias, how the world we live in systematically favours white people, and what we need to do to start unpicking this
- Empathy: giving people the tools they need to listen and understand more openly, overcoming feelings of defensiveness that will stop them from engaging
- Comfort and safety: defining what the difference is between these terms, and building processes to naturalise dealing with issues in a way that enables growth and learning
- Culture and policy: working out how we embed this work in the core of Vanti, from recruitment to day-to-day life
- Allyship: helping team members become true and useful supporters and anti-racists so they can amplify the voices of others
We’ve then mapped out some initial activities that correspond to these focus areas and have set priorities against these, so we don’t try to boil the ocean. Here’s one of the activities from our Foundations work:
Work will now commence on tasks and projects that will help us to get to where we want to be – as individuals, as a business, and as an active member of the communities and groups we operate in. One of our first activities is to carry out an internal survey to help us understand where we’re starting from and we’ll be sharing some of the insights from this in the coming weeks. Our intention is to make this journey as public as possible, and any resources we generate (such as policies) will be shared via this blog so we can hopefully help other organisations with their own work.
We have always sought to be proactive in our Diversity and Inclusion work because there is so much care within Vanti for one another and the impact we have on the world, but we have a long way to go in many areas – racism included. Undertaking this journey in a considered and structured way, whilst also allowing for long-term evolution of our roadmap, will create a safe and inclusive working environment for all and enable Vanti to be the best we can be.
We look forward to sharing our journey with you!