1. Importance of Equality in The Workplace
Equality in an organization can promote diverse ways of thinking, giving people with different experiences and backgrounds a chance to express their points of view and bring fresh perspectives to the table. Studies have shown that greater diversity is correlated to greater profitability. Recent research from McKinsey, for example, found a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance on EBIT margin in companies ranked in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity.
Cultivating a positive working environment is not only a beneficial business decision, it is a legal obligation. As the Equality Act 2010 spells out, every company must guarantee all employees have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive, without facing discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or religion.
2. How to Promote Equality in The Workplace
2.1. Ensure Equality During the Process of Hiring
Developing a culture of equality in the workplace starts at the hiring stage, even before you’ve begun interviewing candidates. Job descriptions can unintentionally contain language that makes the position either appealing or unappealing to particular demographics, so make sure that the details of a role are carefully reviewed with this in mind.
Double check that your requirements are really requirements. If someone from a disadvantaged background has not attended university but does have real-world experience, they may still be qualified for a position.
It can also be helpful to have HR remove the names of candidates from CVs before the hiring manager reviews the applicants. This will help counter any unconscious bias that may arise when considering who to hire.
2.2. Equal Pay for Similar Roles
This is a straightforward point: employees should be paid the same salary for equivalent roles. To show commitment in this area, it may be helpful to commission a formal review of salaries, demonstrating an open attitude towards salary discussions but also helping to provide a broad overview of the company’s pay packets. Sometimes, surprising and unintended biases can be revealed by taking a holistic perspective.
Gender-based discrimination is of especial concern when it comes to pay, as evidenced by the Office for National Statistics, which found that median hourly pay for full-time employees was 7.9% less for women in 2021. Some studies suggest that women and minorities are generally less inclined to ask for more money – and are also less likely to receive more money. Companies need to be proactive when it comes to keeping pay fair and equal.
2.3. Enhance Communication Among Everyone
Organize sessions where people can express any challenges or communicate their feelings. This helps to create dialogue between employees about why inclusion is a positive, beneficial attribute to any organization.
2.4. Foster Inclusive and Supportive Work Culture
In addition to meetings around why equality in the workplace is essential, employees should also know they have a clear line of recourse if they feel they are being treated unfairly or that discrimination is taking place. Detailing how the office is enabling a safe and supportive working environment helps build confidence. Robust HR guidelines that are clearly defined can be invaluable in promoting the importance of equality in the workplace.
HR may also want to hold interactive meetings where examples of discriminatory scenarios are provided, to better educate everyone in an organization about potentially harmful and even illegal actions.
2.5. Ensure Proper Training and Mentorship Programs
The equality in the workplace act details the groups who are most likely to suffer from discrimination, as well as the various forms of discrimination, including: direct discrimination, associated discrimination, perceived discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimization. Organize training sessions to make sure everyone in the workplace is aware of the different forms that discrimination can take.
Implement proactive steps to support and encourage employees through one-on-one mentorship programs. This can not only embolden staff to be open about their experiences in the workplace, but also foster their ambitions and help them achieve greater success within the company.
2.6. Organize an Anonymous Survey to Learn About the Problems in the Workspace
In many instances, companies may not realize they have any problems with equality in the workplace. The best way to find out is to ask staff directly through anonymous surveys, which can be kept general or tailored to target any specific areas of concern.
Often, employees are afraid to speak out against so-called ‘banter’ for fear of being derided or shamed. There may be discriminatory behavior taking place that is hidden from the attention of managers. Conversely, people may not want to speak openly about the improprieties of a team leader for fear of jeopardizing their career. Giving employees a chance to voice any concerns anonymously is the first step in stamping out any actions that reflect poorly on the business and have negative effects on individual well-being.
As well as exposing any concealed discrimination, questionnaires can also be used in a positive manner, to ask employees if there are any actions they believe could enhance equality in the workplace. Allowing people to have input on company policy can be motivational and clearly demonstrates that a business wants to be proactive.
2.7. Train the Managers and Leaders
If managers in a company don’t understand the full importance of equality in the workplace, you can be sure there won’t be any productive changes to overall attitude. Make sure that the right training opportunities are in place, so that people in leadership positions have the resources available to help them eliminate bias and address any instances of discrimination.
Organize guest speakers or workshops that are specifically aimed at team leaders. A number of companies provide specialized courses, answering questions around a manager’s legal obligations as well as the most effective methods for encouraging the right values and behaviors in the workplace. Some of these thought leadership businesses offer equality in the workplace PDFs as resources, in addition to certification of skills learned.
2.8. Ensure Equality Policies in the Office
Companies wondering how to promote equality in the workplace should make clear their position through openly stated diversity and inclusion policies. Whether these are around recruitment, pay or general training, transparent regulations provide guidance for managers and reassure employees that the company is taking equality in the workplace seriously.
2.9. Make Work-Life Balance a Priority
Even before the global pandemic, equality in the workplace articles had begun to highlight the importance of providing a suitable work-life balance for all employees. This is particularly true for certain demographics, such as single parents, as studies have shown that initiatives like flexible working can help these groups overcome barriers that discourage them from participating in the workforce.
2.10. Organize Various Team Building Activities
Team-building activities are a great way for colleagues to feel included in a workplace, but they are also a means to educate employees via talks and workshops.
A number of team-building companies will customize their offering to accommodate an individual business’ needs. This could mean providing equality in the workplace examples to help departments develop their equality policies, including some equality in the workplace quotes to inspire change.
3.1. Why should we promote equality in the workspace?
Fostering diversity and equality helps create a positive, flourishing work environment – and has tangible business benefits, including increased profitability and employee retention. Employees who are given access to equal opportunities to hone their skills and further their career opportunities are more productive and happier.
3.2. Why should leaders ensure proper equality policies in the organization?
While actions around equality have to be taken at every level of a business, change can only be truly achieved utilizing a top-down approach. If managers are active in promoting equality policies, their teams will have a clear direction and feel they work in a benevolent workplace. If a manager encourages open discussion and specific skills training, employees will believe there is a genuine desire to cultivate equality in the workplace.