Promoting Equality and Diversity in the workplace
Having noted the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace, it is crucial that businesses know how to promote it successfully. This article is a step in the right direction for those who want to do just that...
Equality and diversity: Promoting it successfully in the workplace
As someone who runs or owns a business, the buck stops with you when it comes to accusations of prejudice and discrimination within the workplace. In the current climate, with companies facing scrutiny in every area, it is essential that your company has strong policies in place that will protect against any damaging lawsuits. If an employer is not seen to be trying to improve their track record in the area of equality and diversity, that will not only cause financial damage but thier reputations can be tarnished, sometimes irreparably.
In the previous article, we examined how to monitor equality and diversity in the workplace and how it can help to build a business and improve the relationships and culture within an organisation. Change is good and companies need to know how to embrace it.
One of the main ways to promote equality and diversity is by having it in the first place! Simple I know but having something clear that the employees can refer to can be a big help. Furthermore, tell them about it. Whether it is in the monthly newsletter, company magazine or through meeting with your staff, make sure that people not only know that there is a policy in place but actually understand it and how it affects them. If everyone feels valued, then research shows that this can help boost employee motivation, increase creativity and productivity and improve business performance.
For any business, having an equality and diversity policy is place should be more than a corporate afterthought. It is an extremely important and useful management tool which can help to:
Show how you intend to develop and maintain a diverse working environment
Demonstrate your stance on equality and diversity. You cannot just talk the talk, you have to ‘walk the walk’ too especially in this area
Give employees and other stakeholders an opportunity to participate and commit to equality and diversity inside and outside of the company.
Involving staff and employees is the key to making this work. By asking their views and taking them on board, you will minimise resistance to change in this area. Everyone has an opinion especially in an area that is sensitive and potentially explosive. So ask them about:
Relationships in the workplace and how they are to be developed and maintained
How to value and respect differences
What they feel is fair...or not
If the monitoring has brought some issues to light, deal with them as quickly as possible. So what positive action can you take - as an employee - to promote equality and diversity? Be proactive, assertive, honest, determined and honest in your approach and you should be on your way to seeing results.
If an issue is flagged up with regard to one of the minority groups, provide training or courses that will help them develop.
If you can, encourage members of any under-represented group to apply for opportunities for work. However, it is important to make it clear that selection will be based on their skills and experience and not just because they are of a certain group.
The effects of good equality and promotion in the workplace
Increased staff and employee confidence
Better productivity, creativity and motivation
Better management skills
Improved interaction between those of different cultures and backgrounds
Boost in company reputation
Equality and diversity is continually changing. Thus, organisations must innovate and develop in this area. It should not be a reactive thing to prevent falling foul of legislation (although this is important), it should be about promoting an atmosphere where people of different cultures, opinions and skills can come and work together. The results will not only be obvious to the employees but to other interested stakeholders as well.
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. (2005). MANAGING DIVERSITY - LINKING THEORY AND PRACTICE TO BUSINESS PERFORMANCE. London.
© 19th July 2010