Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that Gipsil have been awarded Tea Break solution Trailblazer status!


The Tea Break provides the framework and opportunity for an organisation to hear the honest voice and feelings of its colleagues about race inequality. All employees are invited to a one-hour themed, online discussion about an issue that matters. This initiative was developed through the Solutions Collaboratory™ in collaboration with Network Rail and its staff network, Cultural Fusion, Mental Health First Aid England and those with lived experience from other organisations. In a 2022 Race Equality Matters’ Event, 85% of attendees thought that Tea Break would facilitate their organisation to have uncomfortable conversations about race inequality. The Tea Break methodology enables courageous conversations. This gives the organisation and its senior management insights and the opportunity to address concerns and issues that are being shared.


In addition to achieving #MyNameIs Trailblazer status, Gipsil have also made further genuine steps towards tackling racial inequality by their successful implementation of Tea Break. Judging Panellists felt Gipsil’s implementation of #MyNameIs this was a great example of increase in engagement from workforce and those with lived experiences


The independent judges – all of whom are ethnically diverse – unanimously agreed that their application demonstrated that significant action had been taken in addressing racial inequality through the Tea Break initiative and 83.3% felt Gipsil was the type of organisation they would like to work for.


Tea Break


Opening Difficult Conversations: Creating Safe Spaces


Following the #MyNameIs campaign, and what felt like its success, Gipsil felt like they had laid the groundwork to start creating safe places for conversations that may otherwise feel tricky to have in the workplace. There was also a strong feeling that the Tea Breaks would then give them a strong foundation for ensuring that when they get to the E,D&I part of the agenda in team meetings and supervisions there is something to talk about instead of the silence that they had sometimes experienced. They Launched the conversations during Black History Month and held them monthly.


Gipsil identified the importance of identifying and including the voices of their ethnically diverse colleagues and creating psychologically safe spaces for conversations. To conduct the Tea Break colleagues who make up their E,D&I steering group and who had lived experience of racism and discrimination offered to lead on the conversations around Unconscious Bias, Micro Aggressions, White Privilege. They then created spaces at the end of each session for people to stay on and receive support if needed and to look at what changes they could make as a result of the conversation.


Some actions that were carried out as a result of this were the implementation of #MyNameIs, designated spaces for prayer/mindfulness, a much wider understanding of the impact of micro aggressions leading to an agreement to having a ‘Call It Out’ inbox/telephone as well as some staff having a better understanding of their own privilege and how this can impact conversations about challenging discrimination and oppression.


Creating Change and Impact


Gipsil have shared that Tea Breaks have created a more positive culture and that it has changed multiple aspects of the way Gipsil work and they are re-evaluating their values and mission statement to ensure it is in line with this.


As a result of the Tea Breaks, Gipsil are now doing a piece of work connected to the wellbeing of their ethnically diverse colleagues as they have identified gaps in their wellbeing against their white counterparts. Alongside this they will be setting KPI’s against their Investors in Diversity standard/action plan, so that they can start to implement further activity which will be led by the results of firstly looking at this with their operational managers. Panellists praised the implementation and shared that the Tea Break sessions have clearly had a strong cultural impact and the organisation has evidently embraced this and has shown clear ambition to do more.


Panellists felt the organisation presented a clear and effective way of implementing the Tea Break initiative with a great use of resources. One panellist commented that the application demonstrated ‘great examples of increased engagement from the workforce including those with lived experiences. And the survey from Tea Break sessions provided good positive feedback.’ Gipsil strengthened their application with strong testimonial data which the judging panellists praised as this showed buy-in and endorsement from ethnically diverse colleagues. The application also demonstrated strong commitment to inclusivity as well as the use of data to navigate their journey of change.


Next Steps…


As Gipsil continues its journey to tackling racial inequality and evolves Tea Breaks over time, they hope to:


  • Tea Breaks will now be held on the same day and time each month as it is felt that they are now part of the Gipsil culture
  • Tea Breaks will include topics that cover intersectionality but to ensure race remains a focus every other Tea Break will be directly focused on issues connected to race inequality
  • As a result of the Tea Breaks Gipsil are now doing a piece of work connected to the wellbeing of their ethnically diverse colleagues (as a result of a survey) as they have identified gaps in their wellbeing against colleagues of other demographics
  • Alongside looking at wellbeing they will introduce KPI’s with operational managers against our Investors in Diversity standard/action plan


Follow Gipsil’s Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest to be considered for the next round of trailblazers.



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