Policies that create an inclusive culture
How inclusive you are with the policies you create is important. Education and support lie at the foundation of creating a sustainable approach to inclusion. Policies set the tone for the range of conversations employees feel comfortable having with their line manager and potentially, one another. By setting out clear policies to help the individual at crucial points in their life – whether they are experiencing domestic abuse, affected by miscarriages, undergoing fertility treatments or navigating the menopause – having some guidance about the support available to employees can equip employees with the tools they need to find balance during turbulent times.
Support groups are often created out of these policies set by HR, with groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ and Women, particularly in Construction which is traditionally a more male-dominated sector. These safe spaces offer networking and learning opportunities, bringing people together to share their experiences and help one another to meet similar challenges. These conversations, with first-hand experiences being shared, can offer employees the tools they need to tackle the challenges they face individually.
Scrutinising the figures
Diversity data is also increasingly required for certain bids, particularly as part of tenders for public sector contracts. The Gender Equality Duty places a statutory requirement on public authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to take action to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation based on sex and promote equality. Therefore, equal pay audits for public departments are becoming increasingly popular, as they seek to understand the drivers behind their own data.
The gender pay gap is a persistent problem facing the reputation of companies forced to report their figures, but those who manage to close the gap will reap the benefits in terms of recruitment and retention. While many were disappointed that plans to make it mandatory to report the ethnicity pay gap did not go ahead, this is still a possibility to ensure that companies are holding themselves to account when it comes to scrutinising their record on diversity and inclusion. Respondent employers are reporting that they voluntarily publish their gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps to be transparent with their stakeholders.
Respondent employers also report making their recruitment process as fair as possible. Skills-based assessments as opposed to purely interviews can enable candidates to demonstrate their ability and fitness for the role. Processes in place that can prevent unconscious bias from the interviewer also help at this stage.