Tackling bias hands on with BT



To be a truly global company, you need global communication. And truly global communication can only come with genuine representation. BT is one of the world’s leading communications services companies. By 2030, their goal is for their workforce to fully reflect the diverse regions in which they work, in order to become the world’s most trusted connector of people, devices and machines.


But what is diversity without inclusion? To meet their ambitious target with authenticity, BT chose UpSkill Digital to work with them from the ground up, to break down the barriers to inclusion from the very beginning of an employee’s career path. 


How could UpSkill shine a light on these issues and truly engage BT’s talent acquisition teams? This training programme would need to take a deep dive into the intricacies of bias in the workplace, encourage participants to examine their behaviour closely, and ask difficult questions of themselves and their colleagues. Creating a safe environment for candid conversations would be paramount to the success of the programme. This training would need to be hands-on. 


Together, BT and UpSkill Digital would develop a jam-packed day of interactive, in-person workshops to help their people management teams to recognise and tackle the complex issue of bias in recruitment. 


In September 2021, UpSkill delivered a highly interactive and engaging workshop day, led by a top bias in recruitment specialist and supported by a team of expert facilitators. This was a hands-on event with plenty of simulation and role play. Participants could make use of physical break out rooms, and enjoyed the integration of tech interactions via Slido to enhance their learning experience. 


“What a day! Just fantastic to see a room full of people ready to be the driver of change across our organisation. All delivered thanks to our partners, UpSkill Digital.” - Learning Experience Manager, BT

During the course of the day, attendees were given practical steps to reduce and challenge bias in their day to day work, and feel confident and equipped to challenge hiring decisions by asking the right questions. Participants were also empowered to have difficult conversations about race and explored how to step up as allies and challenge unacceptable behaviour.


“They did an impressive job of giving tangible advice to take away” - Talent Acquisition Professional, BT


The attendees' interactions in the breakout rooms were a real highlight. UpSkill’s work to create a safe environment paid off as discussion flowed, and participants were really open and honest.


Even the diversity within their team, the trainers, it was just brilliant to see. This is how training should be delivered- Hiring Manager, BT


With over 100 in-person learners, this was a powerful and thought-provoking exploration into tackling bias in recruitment. UpSkill Digital succeeded in curating an impactful and engaging day to influence change within BT by helping talent acquisition teams to spot bias, tackle bias, and ultimately foster a real sense of belonging in diverse teams throughout the organisation. 


“UpSkill have been great to work with - it’s been a real collaborative relationship” - Elaine Voss, Learning Experience Manager, BT


“It was really above expectation - UpSkill were just completely on it. They knew exactly what the issue was before we even brought it to them” - Jordan Bailey, Learning Experience Professional, BT