Promoting equality in the workplace
In our spring survey, we focus on diversity and inclusion as a whole. We ask participants to outline the initiatives they currently offer to promote equality. Initial results suggest that half of respondents are considering how they can tackle wider equality issues within their organisations.
A key component of the employer brand
We are welcoming reports of varied diversity and inclusion practices, which is an increasing area of innovation for employers. These initiatives signal a commitment from the employer to foster different views and experiences within the workplace, creating a culture which in itself can form a vital unique selling point from an employer brand perspective.
Businesses are identifying diversity and inclusion initiatives to promote the concept of ‘belonging’ in the workplace. Research suggests that diversity and inclusion initiatives are a key consideration when it comes to candidates choosing their employer and these initiatives are critical to the culture of an organisation, having a long-term impact on employee experience in the workplace.
Can equality and inclusion co-exist happily?
With the increased impetus on initiatives designed to promote equality and inclusion, these two concepts are often talked about hand in hand. However, at our recent ‘Rewarding You’ customer seminar, we discussed the interesting question of whether equality and inclusion can ‘co-exist’ or whether they are in fact two opposing or competing ideas.
Initiatives designed to promote diversity may require positive steps to make the workplace demographic more diverse. This in turn could risk the perceived preferential treatment of some demographics over others, undermining equality.
Short-term gains to effect long-term change
With the increase in HR analytics, the ability to identify trends around recruitment and retention has increased ten-fold in recent years. However, diversity and inclusion is often about implementing short-term remedies to effect long-term change in the workplace. Equality cannot be achieved overnight.
Barriers such as the lack of requisite expertise and skills within each demographic and the affordability of strategies to address existing pay gaps will take time, with up-skilling to achieve mobility across all levels of seniority estimated to take 10-12 years. The fact that many employers’ gender pay gaps have widened in the second year of reporting is also testament to the arguably painfully slow incremental progress that is being made year on year.
The key benefit is the spotlight these initiatives shine on the issue of equality in the workplace. With the ethnicity pay gap being touted as the next governmental measure to tackle equality in the workplace, this maintains the momentum behind the necessary steps businesses need to take to achieve true diversity and inclusion.
Transforming working groups into firm-wide initiatives
44 per cent of organisations offer diversity and inclusion initiatives according to initial results from our spring survey. These include ambassadors, mentoring systems, and ‘welcome back’ programmes for women. Similarly, LGBTQ, Women in Leadership and BAME groups within the workforce are billed as initiatives designed to unite under-represented demographics. However, do these initiatives risk alienating the rest of the workplace?
Our customers offered insight into how these initiatives dedicated to diversity were still designed to promote inclusion. Housing Provider A2Dominion discussed how initiatives they introduced to promote those who are under-represented in the workplace are in fact opened up to the whole workforce. Everyone is responsible for championing women leaders and the representation of traditionally under-represented demographics. Similarly, L&Q have employee groups dedicated to raising issues of representation across the areas of leadership, culture and recruitment. Wates also pointed out how leadership set the tone for how much traction initiatives gain with employees.
Championing both diversity and inclusion
By transforming diversity initiatives from discrete working groups to a workplace-wide focus, everyone can be a diversity champion and promote inclusion. Transforming employees into advocates for equal opportunities allows the business to tap into new talent pools and unites everyone behind this as a key value. This elevates diversity and inclusion to being core values of the business, beyond lip service or initiatives that can be isolating and patronising.