Meet the architects of Barclays’ racial equity plan
24 Aug 2021
In the wake of George Floyd's murder last summer, Barclays employees Azura Mason and Mattias Hauser were amongst a group of colleagues left struggling with how best to turn their emotions into action.
Like many, they were motivated to use the moment to spur positive change for the Black community in their own sphere. As members of Barclays' Black Professionals Forum (BPF)—an employee network that supports and empowers Black colleagues throughout the company—Mason and Hauser began conversations around what they could do within Barclays to amp up their quest for racial equity in the workplace.
Ultimately, their efforts culminated in a paper, entitled “Path Forward," which lays out a detailed approach for how Barclays can improve racial equity and inclusion throughout the organisation. Mason, Hauser and the rest of the Black Professionals Forum Team were honored in June for their work on Path Forward as winners at the Barclays Citizenship and Diversity Awards. These internal annual awards are designed to recognise and celebrate colleagues around the world who are making a positive impact on society or helping to strengthen inclusivity at the bank.
“We came together around this project because we were all having a tough time trying to navigate what we felt would be a proper response within this moment," explains Mason, who was recently named Global Head of Race at Work for Barclays. “We realised that there was an opportunity to provide a better platform for Black professionals to succeed in certain areas, as well as address how Barclays could respond to the issue within society. It was a good moment to reflect on how we would like to affect change."
Together with several fellow BPF members, Mason and Hauser began to look into what other companies were doing in response to the growing racial justice movement, and tapped into their own expansive networks looking for examples of actionable goals that they felt they might be able to pursue at Barclays.
There were a number of ideas that came out of our review, which, over time, developed into a formal programme that was presented to senior leadership.
Matthias Hauser, Strategy Group, Barclays
The BPF team outlined a strategy in Path Forward aimed at three pillars of action:
Attracting, hiring, retaining and advancing Black talent at Barclays
Supporting minority-owned businesses and Black founders in the community
Working directly with clients to help eradicate racism in business practices
Path Forward also contained specific remedial actions—which have since been put into place—including mandatory race and ethnicity training; inserting inclusion objectives for roles at the VP, Director and higher levels; and creating senior roles to execute on the recommended strategy.
To bring a business lens to how they were approaching these diversity challenges, the group made sure to include concrete goals, data and targets along with the recommendations. “Racial diversity isn’t a nice to have – it’s a real business driver. The way we get to equity is through measurable targets and successes," Mason explains.
For Mason, Hauser and the rest of the team, being recognized for Path Forward at the Citizenship and Diversity Awards served as a much-needed positive boost after a tumultuous and emotional year. But the real reward, they say, was in working collaboratively to help move the needle on racism. “Seeing so many of us pull together that way, to me, was the most powerful moment," notes Hauser.