Approaching Equality, Diversity, And Inclusion In The Workplace

Equality and diversity are two topics that are very relevant in today's workplaces, regardless of whether you work with only two people or hundreds of them and irrespective of the industry that you belong to. The purpose of equality and diversity are simple, and that is to ensure that everyone in the workplace will have equal access to opportunities and will receive fair treatment.

Regardless of our gender, race, religion, or colour, we all deserve to work in an environment that’s free from harassment, discrimination, and bullying. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for many businesses. What’s more, some company leaders do not even realise that their actions deny people access to some opportunities.

How Are Equality, Diversity, And Inclusion Defined By Law?

Equality means fairness, which requires fair treatment of individuals or groups regardless of their characteristics. It also means giving everyone equal opportunities and ensuring that those who may be disadvantaged will receive the tools needed to access similar opportunities as their peers. Meanwhile, diversity means respecting, recognising, and celebrating each other’s differences. A diverse workplace comprises a wide range of backgrounds and mindsets, allowing for an empowered culture of innovation and creativity. As for inclusion, it means creating a work environment where everyone will feel valued and welcomed. But an inclusive environment is only possible once we become more aware of our unconscious biases and learn how to manage them.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are covered by the Equality Act 2010, which protects people against discrimination. It replaces the previous anti-discrimination laws, making it easier for everyone to understand and strengthen protection in various situations. The law also details how it is illegal to treat someone and set out several duties that public institutions must carry out to develop an environment of equality, with equal opportunity for all, and where everyone is free from any forms of discrimination.

Everyone in Britain is protected by the Equality Act 2010, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with certain characteristics. Aside from protecting people from discrimination, the law further states that every individual should ensure that their own practices and behaviours are not discriminatory. 

Remember that the Equality Act 2010 will only apply after October 2010. If you have been subjected to unlawful treatment before October 1, 2010, the Equality Act will not apply. But you will be covered by the legislation enforced at that time. For instance, if you have faced racial discrimination in September 2010 and want to file a complaint legally, the Race Relations Act 1976 will apply.

How Is Lack Of Diversity Impacting The Workplace?

Diversity and racial injustices are becoming hot topics among businesses today. Modern companies consider workplace diversity a crucial element of success while creating happiness and advocating for social improvements. And while coming up with a diverse workplace can be a challenge for many businesses, there are solutions to help develop a sense of unity and harmony among different kinds of people in the workplace.

Several studies have shown a clear link between companies with diverse teams and business success. One report from McKinsey showed that companies advocating for ethics and gender diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns than other companies in the same industry. It has also been proven that a diverse workplace could lead to increased innovation among teams and having diverse leaders can create an environment where more diverse ideas are welcomed and heard. When there’s diversity in an organisation, people will bring their own experiences and background when brainstorming, leading to better performance and more innovation.

The wide variety of abilities and skills associated with workplace diversity can directly enhance productivity. Organisations with more diversity in their workplace can boast higher productivity since different workers have different abilities and skills. Moreover, recruitment becomes more manageable in a diverse organisation since employees will feel more welcome regardless of their background. In conclusion, the greater the variety of employees that an organisation has, the more ideas and perspectives they can bring for the company, which will positively impact the business.

How Can A Business Approach Equality, Diversity, And Inclusion Itself?

As mentioned, the Equality Act 2010 states that employers are responsible for protecting their workers from any form of discrimination, harassment or bullying in the workplace. Unfortunately, workplace discrimination is still a primary concern in various industry sectors. Clearly, we must not tolerate workplace discrimination, and it’s time that organisations should be doing all they can to promote equality in the workplace. But what should be the best approach to equality, diversity, and inclusion?

Companies should start by creating strong company values. Using a questionnaire, they should ask staff about their own opinions and make sure they are heard. The company should also offer training regarding diversity and inclusion. It’s work thinking carefully about what you need and figuring out bespoke training to fit your business and employee needs. When recruiting, promoting, and training, make sure that you have clear and objective criteria to make sure that you always make decisions according to merit and that these decisions are not influenced by bias. Always encourage decision making and conduct audits if there is a concern about a specific team or business unit.

Be extra mindful of indirect discrimination. When creating company policies, make sure that these policies will not inadvertently place certain groups or individuals at a disadvantage. On the contrary, do not pretend you haven’t noticed any harassment just because you think it is just a mere “banter”. These might be small things, but this will have the potential to damage your company reputation in the long run. If needed, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. Your HR & Legal Compliance Dept. should be able to offer sound advice on how to avoid unconscious bias when making complex decisions in the company, such as terminating contracts. It’s always worth making sure your HR department is recruited with this in mind. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that workplace equality is not only about implementing procedures to prevent workplace discrimination. You must also actively promote equality and inclusion while ensuring that everyone in the workplace is free to focus on whatever matters most to them, helping the company become the best it can be.

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