Leading Hospitality, Travel and Leisure Companies Make Diversity Pledge by signing the BITC Race at Work Charter

While Minneapolis may seem far away, the ramifications of George Floyd’s death are not limited to the US.  Across the UK economy, black, Asian and ethnic minority people continue to be under-employed and, despite a clear desire for progression, continue to be underrepresented at senior levels.  According to analysis featured in the 2020 edition of the WiHTL Annual Report in partnership with The MBS Group and PwC, ethnic minorities’ representation across Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (6.4% at Board level, 3.4% at Executive Committee level and 4.8% at Direct Reports level) continues to fall short of the UK working age population average. 

It’s clear that pursuing a strong diversity and inclusion strategy has never been more important.  We are delighted to announce that 15 companies in the WiHTL Collaboration Community have now signed the BITC (Business in the Community) Race at Work Charter.  The Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (HTL) companies who have signed the charter join a strong network of more than 250 leading organisations who have made a public commitment to promote equality in the workplace through the Charter’s five calls to action.

Tea Colaianni, Founder & Chair, WiHTL said: “The Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter is a fantastic initiative composed of 5 principal calls to action for leaders to commit to taking practical steps to ensure their workplaces are tackling barriers that ethnic minority people face in recruitment and progression and that their organisations have ethnic minorities represented at all levels.  It’s through demonstrating commitment and working collaboratively that we can successfully bring race equality to the top table.  We encourage all HTL companies to sign up to the Charter.”  

Amanda Mackenzie, Chief Executive, Business in the Community (BITC) said: “Diversity and inclusion are key to a responsible recovery so I’m pleased to see that the hospitality, travel and leisure sectors – despite suffering some of the biggest economic hits due to the coronavirus pandemic – are reasserting their commitment to race equality by signing up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter.”

The 15 companies are:

·      Bourne Leisure

·      British Airways

·      Casual Dining Group

·      Compass Group

·      Delaware North

·      Ennismore

·      Greene King

·      Hilton

·      InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)

·      Loungers

·      McDonald’s Restaurants

·      Moto Hospitality

·      Nando’s

·      The Collective

British Airways and Greene King signed earlier this year, whilst the other companies have made their commitment more recently. 

The five calls to action that the BITC Race at Work Charter requires employers to commit to are:-

  1. Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race
    Executive Sponsors for race provide visible leadership on race and ethnicity in their organisation and can drive actions such as setting targets for ethnic minority representation, briefing recruitment agencies and supporting mentoring and sponsorship.
  2. Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
    Capturing ethnicity data is important for establishing a baseline and measuring progress. It is a crucial step towards an organisation reporting on ethnicity pay differentials.
  3. Commit at board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
    The Race at Work Survey revealed that 25% of ethnic minority employees reported that they had witnessed or experienced racial harassment or bullying from managers. Commitment from the top is needed to achieve change.
  4. Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
    Actions can include ensuring that performance objectives for leaders and managers cover their responsibilities to support fairness for all staff.
  5. Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression
    Actions can include embedding mentoring, reverse mentoring and sponsorship in their organisations

HTL Signatories of the Charter 

Paul Flaum, CEO, Bourne Leisure, said: “We are delighted to sign up to the Race at Work Charter and do our part to help tackle the barriers that individuals who are from an ethnic minority background can face in the workplace. By committing to and focusing on the five steps laid out in the charter we promise to do even more to ensure that Bourne is a place where all talent thrives and everyone can flourish.”

Dominic Blakemore, CEO, Compass Group PLC, said:“I believe everyone should expect to be treated with fairness and dignity at work. Ensuring that the Compass workforce reflects the diversity of our communities is important to me. To achieve genuine equality I know we all need to take action and there is much more we want to do. I am pleased to be signing the Race at Work Charter as further commitment to our colleagues. I want every person at Compass to feel they can reach their full potential with us, no matter what their background, race, ethnicity or colour.”

Doug Tetley, Managing Director, Delaware North, said: “Delaware North holds a position as a leader in the hospitality industry and has always supported equality and inclusion in the workplace. When I look across our business I see a population as diverse as any. I see a workplace culture where our values – Lean Forward, Come Together, Stand Up, Do Right and Think Guest – are exemplified daily. We recognise that we could do more to empower individuals from diverse backgrounds and cultures with unique talents and perspectives to give them the confidence to grow within our organisation. I am proud that Delaware North has joined the community of organisations who have signed up to the Race at Work Charter.”

Patricia Page-Champion, Senior Vice President & Global Commercial Director, Hilton, said:“At Hilton we have always been committed to building a workforce that is diverse, inclusive and creates an enduring sense of belonging for all. We are making great progress however our work is never done. We will continue to strive to ensure that our hotels and Team Members represent the very best of their communities with a truly diverse workforce. We look forward to furthering this critical work by signing the Race at Work Charter and through our partnership with BITC and WiHTL.”

Keith Barr, CEO, IHG, said:“IHG is a truly global company and our colleagues represent multiple nationalities, as well as the many cultures, religions, races, sexualities, backgrounds and beliefs that make the world such a vibrant place. We want our culture to be truly reflective of that, and we know we must do more to bring about change for the long-term in a meaningful, actionable way. The Commitments in the BITC Race at Work Charter will help us to build on the work we are already doing to achieve this.”

Reza Merchant, CEO and Founder of The Collective, said: “As a business that was founded on the principles of community and inclusion, we’re proud to be signing the Race at Work Charter. This commitment forms part of our wider long-term strategy to increase diversity in our teams, buildings and wider communities, and provide opportunities to nurture and empower ethnic minority talent.”

Paul Pomroy, CEO, McDonald’s UK & ROI, said: “We have a strong heritage of diversity and representation which we are proud of. However, we know, like all businesses, that we must do more, and we are constantly challenging ourselves on every aspect of our approach to diversity and inclusion. Our brand has a reach and relevance which means that we have a very meaningful role to play. We are delighted to join the WiHTL community in supporting the BITC Race at Work Charter and holding ourselves accountable to its principles.

Ken McMeikan, CEO, Moto Hospitality, said: “Sadly, the realities of life facing many people throughout the world today means there is still so much more we all need to do to eradicate racism. We have a huge responsibility as employers to not only create safe and inclusive places of work, but also to create opportunity and hope. Being open and transparent about ethnicity targets, across all levels of our business, is another small but important step on that journey.” 

Colin Hill, CEO, Nando’s UK&I, said: “I am proud to lead an inclusive business with our South African heritage and the spirit of the rainbow nation at its core.  A spirit where we value every individual, regardless of background or outlook on life. We know that this will only live through our actions and words are not enough – That’s why Nando’s is proud to be a signatory of the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, showing our commitment to creating an inclusive and represented environment for our black and ethnic minority Nandocas (our word for our employees), giving everyone the chance to realise and fulfil their potential.” 

Sandra Kerr OBE, Race Equality Director, Business in the Community, said: “I am delighted that so many employers from the Hospitality, Travel and Leisure sector have signed the Race at Work Charter in the last three weeks. It is great to see that the challenges currently facing the sector have not stopped key employers continuing with their commitment to racial equality in the workplace.”

Further initiatives to support the drive for race equality

To help further raise awareness of racial equality issues across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry, WiHTL has partnered with the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and Greene King to produce a series of insightful webinars for leaders in the industry. 

Starting on 20th July, the series, entitled ‘The Inclusive Leader’, sees speakers from leading organisations cover key steps leaders can take to improve inclusion within their company and help to achieve race equality and progression.  To find out more and sign up to the first session in the series, visit – https://www.wihtl.com/events

WiHTL has also recently created a new ‘Race and Ethnicity in HTL Committee’.  The committee includes individuals who are passionate about progressing the conversation on racial equality across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry.  The committee will work to support the creation of best practices, tools, and webinar content as well as advise on how best to raise awareness and improve educational programmes.  Find out more at https://www.wihtl.com/race-ethnicity

For companies across Hospitality, Travel and Leisure wishing to find out more and sign up to the Race at Work Charter, contact info@withl.com

About WiHTL

WiHTL is the most impactful collaboration community of leaders across the Hospitality, Travel and Leisure sector and is devoted to increasing women’s and ethnic minorities’ representation at all levels and in particular in leadership positions across the HTL sector. We believe that through collaboration we can amplify the impact of individual diversity initiatives, together we can have a bigger, louder voice for the good of the industry. For more information, contact: 

Gina Baillie

Marketing & Partnerships Director




About Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business.  We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and we mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • develop a skilled and inclusive workforce for today and tomorrow;
  • build thriving communities where people want to live and work;
  • innovate to sustain and repair our planet.