27 February 2024
The Importance of ‘Active Allyship’ – Green Park’s Top Takeaways
Business leaders all over the world have began to prioritise Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and recognize its commercial value in building brand trust and competing in the war for talent. With today’s generation being more socially conscious than ever, diversity, inclusion, culture & ethics are a necessity for any business looking to build a talent strategy fit for the future.
Raj Tulsiani, CEO and Co-founder of Green Park, built his entire company on the foundation of diversity & inclusion as the key to unlocking competitive advantage. A pioneer in the talent industry, he sought to build diverse senior leadership teams and campaign for more inclusive recruitment practices and equitable workplace cultures.
In 2020, Raj co-founded Race Equality Matters, a Community Interest Company with a mission to tackle race inequality in the workplace through collaborative, impact-driven solutions. This included the launch of the UK’s first Race Equality Week, now an annual UK-wide movement uniting thousands of organizations and individuals to practically address the barriers to achieving race equality.
CIO Bulletin had the privilege of interviewing him.
Tell us about your organization and the services it offers.
I founded Green Park in 2006 to offer a more diverse and customer-centric alternative to traditional headhunters, one that understood the lived experience of diverse candidates and incorporated this into a more inclusive process and approach.
Having started out seventeen years ago as a challenger brand, I am proud to say we are now an award-winning global talent advisory firm, operating in over 55 countries and placing a diverse leader on a board every four days.
Our integrated service offering includes: Executive Search; Interim Management; Diversity, Inclusion, culture, and Ethics; Leadership Consultancy; and People and Outcome-Based Solutions.
How do your services and approach differ from those of other firms in your market?
Green Park offers a unique blend of expertise across Executive Search and Organizational Consulting that enables organizations to build diverse senior leadership teams and more equitable workplace cultures.
Since day one, we have championed diversity, equality, and inclusion and campaigned for more fair, inclusive, ethical, and equitable recruitment processes and workplace practices. This commitment runs through everything we do. We support organizations and their employees beyond the point of recruitment by using our technology, data, cultural understanding, and experience to build client capabilities and create sustainable organizational design and infrastructure.
Our expertise spans the private, commercial, and government sectors, and we have been mapping diverse leadership and pipeline talent and building relationships in these markets for over sixteen years. As a result, we have a broader reach, greater access to market insight, and, most importantly, more trust when it comes to acting as a bridge between clients and candidates. This has enabled us to consistently outperform the industry in placing diverse leaders.
What steps should leaders take to make their organizations more inclusive?
A lot of organizations don’t really think about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in a business-focused way that will drive specific commercial benefits. Too often, leaders are influenced by groupthink, which restricts their focus to brand risk and demand-side needs without any material supply-side insight.
One focus especially worth highlighting for leaders is career equity. What are the disparities for people with different lived experiences in your organization? Ultimately, you need to understand what would make it a statistically fair organization, because then you can start to plan impactful steps that will release productivity through increasing intersectional inclusion.
However, most businesses don’t even independently verify what quadrant they are in in terms of diversity maturity. So, being brave enough to not mark your own homework and understanding where your organization is in its diversity journey is the first step.
What’s your take on trust in leadership and its importance?
Trust is based on lived experience in relation to the stories people tell. When those narratives are backed up by people’s experiences, it builds trust, but if the spoken narrative is perceived as marketing focused or tokenistic, it breaks it down.
Organizations have been pushing the DEI agenda in the wrong direction for so long, with statistical results that are far behind corporate narratives, that a reset is needed in order to refocus investment on results and impacts that make a real difference to people’s lives and careers. In today’s increasingly online and skeptical world, organizations need to attract, retain, and develop talent differently in order to compete tomorrow.
How do you see your organization changing in five years, and how do you see yourself creating that change?
Green Park is always looking to pioneer new approaches, and we pride ourselves on our agility and ability to evolve and develop our solutions to meet changing market trends and help our clients rise to future challenges. We are investing in bias reducing AI and online learning to help organizations lock in progress and building a variety of integrated solutions that help organizations close the gap between talent attraction, retention, and improvement.
We will continue to grow and invest over the next five years so that we can respond quickly to the changing landscape and ensure that technology does not simply export bias at scale or hide it through anonymous recruitment. We are building our team based on client needs and developing services and products that provide greater expertise in areas such as data and technology, digital change and transformation, and learning and development.
What recent career achievement are you particularly proud of?
In 2020, I co-founded Race Equality Matters, a not-for-profit that seeks to improve racial equality in the workplace.
It was, in part, a response to the declarations of commitment and support from organisations and business leaders following the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter movement, and I wanted to turn that momentum into meaningful change.
The following January, we launched the UK’s first ever Race Equality Week, a UK wide collaboration of organizations and employees uniting in activity to create change for race equality. Now in its third year, Race Equality Week 2023 engaged over 4,500 organizations in activity, with a reach of over four million employees and achieved over 100 million social media impressions.
What is the one book that you recommend leaders read, and why?
My book, of course, ‘Diversity and Inclusion for Leaders: Making a Difference with The Diversity Headhunter’. The purpose of the book is to close the gap between rhetoric and action when it comes to corporate DEI strategy and implementation by focusing on the commercial value of diversity, which goes beyond the moral issues.
Ultimately, DEI needs to be driven from the top down, and my aim with this book was to help give leaders the confidence and practical insight to enable them to become allies and change agents within their organizations. I hope it will not just give leaders a comprehensive understanding but also provide them with an actionable framework so they can not only master diversity and inclusion but also profit from it.
A brief biography of the CEO
Raj Tulsiani, CEO of Green Park, has over 20 years of experience moving the dial on leadership, talent, and diversity and is the author of ‘Diversity and Inclusion for Leaders: Making a Difference with the Diversity Headhunter.’
Under his leadership, Green Park has become an award-winning consultancy at the forefront of client and candidate service and innovation, featuring in the Financial Times’ list of the 1000 fastest-growing companies and the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100.