All of us at Storm ID were outraged at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Over these last few months, that outrage has only grown as our attention has been drawn to other horrific acts of racism, past and present, not just far away but close to home. The wave of anger and injustice that has swept the world has highlighted that systemic racism exists and needs to be confronted. It has brought home to many that racial inequality and prejudice is a daily occurrence and a painful reality.
As a business that really seeks to make a difference in the world, Storm ID stands against racism, which is why we support Black Lives Matter, the global network that seeks to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe.
Although we’ve not remained silent, we’ve taken our time to consider the actions we can take that we believe can make a difference. We want to do more than make pledges and we want to be genuine about our commitment to continual improvement on this issue.
“Make a difference – We believe in making a difference. That’s why we give our people the freedom to think differently, challenge convention, and work on projects that matter to them”
This statement is boldly declared on our career’s website.
It encapsulates the values that have driven us over the last 19 years to do great work that makes a difference for people and society. However, looking back, it’s clear we’ve not done enough as a business to educate ourselves on the issue of systemic racism and how it affects people and society. Fixing the problem of systemic racism requires acknowledgement that there is a problem in the first place.
Like many other individuals, organisations and businesses, we’ve been working out how best to channel our outrage to bring about positive and lasting change. For several years we’ve benefitted from having a Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee and it has played an important role in raising awareness of a range of issues including mental health, gender balance and unconscious bias which have resulted in changes to processes that have had a positive impact.
Importance of dialogue
As we’ve taken a deep dive into constructing our response to systemic racism, it’s evident we need to improve how we dialogue.
Several of the team have remarked that they feel uncomfortable engaging in dialogue on certain issues for fear of inadvertently offending others. We want all of the team to feel that Storm ID is a safe space where we can have open dialogue on important matters, like race, which in turn allows us to implement measures that can change views and behaviours, and indeed, inspire solidarity and action.
While we will always take action to counter inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, we want all employees to feel equipped that they can speak without fear of inadvertently offending.
Dialogue – when practiced well – can be considered as a form of interaction between two or more people of different identities that emphasises self-expression and reciprocal listening without passing judgement, in an intellectual and compassionate spirit of openness to mutual learning with deep transformative potential.
Being able to stimulate open and honest dialogue on race, and other issues, is vital if we wish to advance Storm ID’s role as a progressive, inclusive workplace. Through dialogue, opportunities will present themselves where we can work towards the goal of making a real impact and delivering lasting change.
It’s clear that there’s much to be done in ridding workplaces and communities of racism and at Storm ID we’re ready to play our part in righting wrongs and collaborating with other like-minded people, organisations and businesses to achieve that end.
We see it as our duty, and the duty of others that we can influence, to take action to ensure that people, workplaces and communities are not just ‘not racist’ but actively ‘anti-racist’.
Commitment to act
Storm ID is committed to action in the following ways:
In our workplace, At Storm ID:
- Diversifying our team to ensure that it better reflects the diversity of the Scottish population and supporting the development of our team members who identify as welcoming support.
- Reviewing and updating the welcome packs we send to new hires prior to their first day, outlining our pledge as an anti-racist business.
- Designing and distributing thought provoking materials to raise awareness within our team about the importance of dialogue on issues like race.
- Creating safe spaces for dialogue.
- Working with our DEI committee to deliver regular race related events and activities across the business to maintain a level of awareness of the issue.
- Implementing specific recognition for employees that take action at work, in their communities and through their networks to promote racial equality, denounce racism, discrimination, inequality and injustice.
- Maintaining and promoting a library of useful resources to help the team understand the scope of the challenge and to stimulate action.
- Introducing mandatory diversity and inclusion training for the whole team, that is backed-up with regular opportunities for continual development.
- Designing procedures for reporting and addressing bias in the workplace.
- Reviewing our policies and practices to ensure that they are explicitly anti-racist.
In the Community – Leith, Edinburgh and beyond:
- Encouraging use of our Storm Labs initiative giving team members a platform to take action on tackling systemic racism in society. Storm Labs gives team members 12 days a year to explore and develop their own ideas, providing opportunities to innovate, experiment and collaborate outside of mainstream projects.
- Engaging with schools, colleges and universities to deliver ‘open day’ sessions on digital to stimulate interest in future careers in the industry.
- Increasing outreach and support to community and grassroots organisations in Leith and across Edinburgh where we’re based.
- Using our engagement with clients, partners and suppliers to advance our ambition in ridding society of systemic racism by reviewing how we support Black and minority-owned companies.
- Signing petitions on behalf of the company to demand justice where we see injustice.
We’ve taken inspiration from other organisations and we would love to hear from other individuals, businesses and organisations too, to understand what actions they’re taking to make a difference.