Equity and diversity in the workplace
Some of the reasons why we should be building a diverse and inclusive workplace.
We spend a third of our lives at work, so it’s not too far-fetched to agree with Ted speaker Janet Stovall when she admits that neither universities nor colleges can change a person’s mentality. According to Stovall, what can really change someone’s mentality are companies, since they are the entities that bring more people together. For example, in the United States alone there are 156 million active people in the workforce. Therefore, business policies that embrace equity and diversity in the workplace, Stovall says, can be everything when creating a more inclusive and fair society. In this article we’re going to take a look at equity and diversity at work and why it’s a necessary part of a CEO attitude today.
Does “equality” in the workplace mean the same as employment “equity”?
It’s very common to talk about “equality” at work, but not so much to talk about “equity”. So let’s start by examining the main difference. Equality at work means treating everyone the same, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, talent, skill set, etc., whereas employment equity means evaluating each situation individually and promoting fairness. In other words, employment equity refers to giving more to those who need it.
So, how can you lead inclusively?
We learn from others, so we need to lead by example. As you can see thus far, working toward equity and diversity in the workplace is one of the most important CEO attitudes. To lead inclusively you can take the following actions:
- Ask before assuming. Prejudices and unconscious bias turn the workplace into a non-inclusive scenario, and carry on the same stereotypes and gender or ethnic roles as usual. So before making assumptions, ask questions to understand points of view that are different from yours.
- Make very clear anti-discrimination policies and take action when things don’t run well. If in your company there is a situation of discrimination based on gender, skin color, sexual orientation or mobility, take action. As Janet Stovall points out, if we keep doing our job badly we get fired. The same should occur when talking about working towards inclusion. If you experience a situation where someone is being discriminated against, speak up and take action!
- Mentor someone who is different from you. It’s a way of encouraging other points of view to come to light and, therefore, promote innovation and creativity in your company.
Some of the top benefits to working on equity and diversity in the workplace:
Recent studies have shown that companies which embrace diversity among their employees by promoting and respecting it, will gain more benefits than other companies, and it makes sense: the society we live in is diverse, so a diverse and inclusive company will have more points of view, experiences, skill sets and backgrounds and will inevitably be a more effective company, because:
- It will be able to offer better customer orientation
- Employee satisfaction will increase
- Decision making will develop
- It will create a workplace atmosphere where everyone can feel at home and isn’t afraid to show their true self. And this, of course, is a competitive advantage because they are more likely to attract and retain talent.
Such is the importance of equity and diversity in the workplace, so let’s start doing things at work differently and more inclusively. As we’ve seen, the impact that corporate culture has on society can be huge. Until next time!