This Episode: Getting Comfortable Talking About Race – with Umar Zamman

This week, Lucinda talks to Umar Zamman about the fundamental need to get comfortable talking about race. Umar is the Director Of Human Resources and Organisational Development at Sheffield Hallam University, and a Board Member of the ACU International HR Committee. Sharing his wealth of knowledge, he discusses the all-important subject of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Furthermore, how companies can empower and fortify themselves by being progressive enough to begin the most valuable of conversations about race.

Key Takeaways

  • Certainly, many companies don’t feel comfortable enough about holding conversations about racial equality and diversity. But by not doing so, they dilute their potential through non-inclusivity.
  • Emotional intelligence can play a huge part in diversity recognition. Indeed, it is not discrimination at the heart of conflict, but poor judgment and ineffective leadership.
  • Indeed, inclusive leadership is not restricted to management positions. It is a task and responsibility that we should all adopt. Only by widespread acceptance and deployment can we hope to effect lasting change.
  • Diversity in any organisation is nothing but beneficial. Furthermore, by increasing the life experience in any given decision, we increase the richness of the decisions being made.
  • Without doubt, as HR professionals, it is incumbent upon us to acknowledge and educate ourselves about the many different cultures around us. Furthermore, we must challenge behaviours that seek to discriminate against them.

Valuable Resources

Best Moments

  • ‘Organisations sleepwalk into major problems’
  • ‘Getting great leadership shouldn’t be dependant on the colour of your skin’
  • ‘People are saying the right things, but they’re not doing the right things’
  • ‘I see diversity as a business benefit’
  • ‘Don’t paper over the cracks of racial equality’

About The Guest

Umar Zamman is the Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development at Sheffield Hallam University, responsible for the HR, OD, Leadership Development, Payroll, Pensions and EDI agenda for over 5500 staff and is part of the senior leadership group. Furthermore, he has experience of working in a numbers of sectors and has held senior executive roles in Higher Education, NHS, Fire & Rescue Service, Policing and the Civil Service where he was an advisor in private office to the Home Secretary and senior civil servants. He has led national and international projects on culture change, leadership and EDI and is focussed on integrating EDI into all HR and OD practices. 

Umar is also a accomplished conference speaker at an national and international level. He has keynoted at conferences in UK, Turkey, USA, Canada, Jamaica, Denmark and India. He has also held non- executive director positions on a number of Boards, including the national executive of Universities HR (UHR) and is currently on the UK representative on the Board for the Association of Commonwealth Universities International HR Steering Committee. 

About The Host

Lucinda Carney is a Business Psychologist with 15 years in Senior Corporate L&D roles and a further 10 as CEO of Actus Software where she worked closely with HR colleagues helping them to solve the same challenges across a huge range of industries. Indeed it was this breadth of experience that inspired Lucinda to set up the HR Uprising community to facilitate greater collaboration across HR professionals in different sectors, helping them to ‘rise up’ together.

“When we look up we rise up”

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