Bentley is on a mission to increase diversity and inclusion in its management ranks with a goal of 30-percent by 2025. To highlight its efforts, the Bentley Unifying Spur was unveiled as a symbol of the diversity it hopes to achieve over the next 4-years and beyond.
Does this beautiful symbol just distract from meager goals and long time frames, or is Bentley really working on its corporate diversity in earnest?
“Diversity and inclusion are profoundly important to us and as part of our Beyond 100 programme we have therefore set ourselves the challenge to become the most diverse luxury car manufacturer. For us this means ensuring there are colleagues from all walks of life in our management structure. This goes hand in hand with our ethos that a rich and inclusive culture, where everyone is supported to achieve their full potential, is what will help to drive our business forward for the next one hundred years.” -Dr. Astrid Fontaine, Bentley’s Member of the Board for People, Digitalisation and IT.
Bentley Unifying Spur
The Bentley Unifying Spur came out of a challenge to create an art car that celebrates diversity. It was designed by Rich Morris, who is a sculptor and painter in his spare time. He chose to use the nine colors of the Progress flag along with the words “Love is Love” to decorate the car.
The words start and end on the hood, wrapping around the body in a series of dancing figures, faces, and shapes in a single, unbroken line. According to Bentley, the words are connected much like all of humanity is connected no matter your race, creed, or sexuality.
Art Car to Showcase Commitment to Diversity
The car will be unveiled at the Crewe Factory where Bentley is headquartered before embarking on a global series of events. These will include both internal and external activities designed to engage the Bentley team and the public in creating a greater awareness of the need for diversity in the workplace.
The Unifying Spur is a part of Bentley’s Beyond 100 strategy. This five-step plan includes outreach, recruitment, succession planning, culture, and development with the goal of Bentley hitting that 30-percent management diversity number by 2025.
“We know that diversity drives success,” said Dr. Astrid Fontaine, Bentley’s Member of the Board for People, Digitalization, and IT Diversity. “That is why diversity and inclusion are profoundly important to us and as part of our Beyond100 program we have therefore set ourselves the challenge to become the most diverse luxury car manufacturer. For us this means ensuring there are colleagues from all walks of life in our management structure.”
Bentley Art Car
An art car is all well and good, but it really doesn’t do anything to promote diversity. It does look cool and is sure to pop up in a whole bunch of Instagram feeds. The artist is clearly quite talented and has put a lot of work into the design, but how does any of that promote corporate diversity?
It’s a bit like those pictures hanging in the hall in grade school. Your art teacher tells you that it’s Indigenous People’s Day, or Women’s History Month, or whatever and everyone has to draw a picture to recognize the occasion. The pictures are hung in the hall and then, weeks later, you pretty much forgot why you had to draw that picture in the first place. There’s no real lasting impact.
Bentley Diversity Plan
Bentley does have actual plans to back up its diversity goals. It will over-index its hiring toward diversity with recruitment focused on targeting new talent pools that may have previously been underrepresented. It will also ensure that diverse talent within its organization is identified early to ensure that talent is included in succession planning.
Additionally, development programs are being designed to encourage this diversity of talent to achieve success within the company. Events and activities throughout the year will reinforce these actions and help remove unconscious bias.
The Bentley Unifying Spur art car will appear at some of these diversity and inclusion events. But, again, it’s really just a nifty eye candy to put in your Instagram feed that doesn’t do anything.
That’s The Best You Can Do Bentley?
Bentley’s goals are admirable. What company wouldn’t want to be sure that it’s not only accepting of diversity but encourages those with diverse backgrounds to join their organization and achieve success? It is, however, 2021, and the idea of diversity isn’t a new thing. Most companies have been working on improving the diversity of their organizations for years. Bentley is a little late to the party with this action plan and, as beautiful as this car is, it’s an art car that doesn’t do anything substantive to move workplace diversity forward.
There was no mention made of where Bentley stands today with its diversity and inclusion employment. It’s a good bet Bentley has some level of diversity already, so taking four whole years to get it up to only 30-percent seems like a rather long timeframe for a modest number. Hopefully, the 4-year timetable gives it more time than needed to hit its goals, and by 2025 it will not only have reached but exceeded 30-percent diversity for its management team. It’s going to take a lot more than an art car to make that happen, however.