How to promote equality and diversity in the workplace
No matter what sector you work in, it’s important to look for ways of improving equality and diversity in your organisation.
What are equality and diversity?
Equality means that all workers are treated equally and given the same opportunities, and none are discriminated against.
Diversity means an organisation actively welcomes employees from varied backgrounds, and reflects this in its workplace culture and hiring policies.
Employers in the UK are required to adhere to the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they meet these standards.
This legislation is in place to ensure employers facilitate an inclusive environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation, where no form of ‘difference’ is ever a barrier to employment or career progression.
Here’s how to promote equality and diversity in the workplace in 5 simple steps:
Ensure you have a comprehensive policy in place
It’s absolutely essential your organisation has an equality and diversity policy in place.
This will help show that equality and diversity are at the core of everything you do. It will also help demonstrate to employees and clients that you take it seriously.
Your policy should describe how you aim to promote equality and diversity in every aspect of your organisation – from recruitment, salaries and benefits to career progression and disciplinary procedures.
For help developing your policy, check out these guidelines and example template.
Listen to your staff
Make sure all staff are aware of the procedures they should follow if they have any concerns regarding equality and diversity.
Try to foster an open, welcoming environment where staff at all levels feel able to communicate with HR and senior management.
You could send round a monthly email bulletin, use signage around the workplace or hold equality and diversity events or training sessions.
Reflect the people you serve
Try to reflect your client or customer base in your workforce. If your workforce matches up with the demographic you serve, your staff and clients will be better able to relate to each other.
The more diverse your workforce, the more diverse the range of opinions, knowledge and experience your organisation will be able to draw from.
This will make it easier to reach a wider range of clients and customers, and better plan the services you provide.
Actively promote a workplace culture of equality and diversity
Make your organisation’s equality and diversity practices active, visible and vocal.
Communicate with the whole organisation to celebrate and raise awareness of the work you’re doing.
Encourage senior leaders to champion equality and diversity by entering diversity awards, participating in network groups or attending events like gay pride.
Communicate with other organisations and contacts to get their ideas on how to promote equality and diversity in the workplace. Find out how they’re doing it and also share your own ideas.
No matter how active you are, there will always be more ways of improving equality and diversity in your organisation, so ask questions and learn from others.
How to promote equality and diversity in the workplace: a summary
It doesn’t matter if your organisation employs five people or 500 – all workplaces should be inclusive, fair and free from discrimination.
A diverse, equal workforce will feel happier and more valued, helping your organisation to thrive, grow and achieve its aims.