In today’s rapidly evolving world, businesses are recognising the impact of fostering equality and embracing diversity within the workplace. Old-fashioned views are now being replaced by a deeper understanding that diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences are not only essential for an inclusive society but also crucial for the success of any organisation.
In this blog post we’ll explore what ACAS say’s about equality and diversity, what it means, and how it can make such a difference in a work environment. Whether you’re a boss, a manager or an employee, you’ll be sure to find some useful information and things you can do to make your workplace more inclusive…
What is Equality in the Workplace?
Equality in the workplace means equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants.
People must not be treated unfairly because of reasons protected by discrimination law (‘protected characteristics’). For example, because of a person’s sex, age or race.
What is Diversity in the Workplace?
Diversity is the range of people in a workforce. For example, this might mean people with different ages, religions, ethnicities, people with disabilities, and both men and women. It also means valuing those differences. Sometimes, people who have those differences are targeted with bullying, harassment or discrimination.
To avoid bullying, harassment or discrimination, you should make sure:
- you and your colleagues understand what is protected and expected by discrimination law
- you suggest changes if what’s expected is not happening
- you and your colleagues understand the benefits of having a range of people with different backgrounds
Unconscious Bias in the Workplace
How a person thinks can depend on their life experiences and sometimes they have beliefs and views about other people that might not be right or reasonable.
This is known as ‘unconscious bias’ and includes when a person thinks:
- better of someone because they believe they’re alike
- less of someone because that person is different to them, for example, they might be of a different race, religion or age
This means they could make decisions influenced by false beliefs or assumptions. This is also sometimes called ‘stereotyping’.
Everyone can think in a way that involves unconscious bias at some point, but it’s important to be aware of it and not let it affect behaviour or decisions, particularly in the workplace.
Apart from in very limited circumstances allowed in law, employers and employees must not make decisions about job applicants or staff based on a protected characteristic. Doing so could lead to a discrimination claim to an employment tribunal.
How Should my Workplace Promote Inclusion, Equality & Diversity?
A good start is to make sure it has a workplace policy covering equality, diversity and inclusion. This might also be called an ‘equal opportunities policy’. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with this, ensure you’re behaving in accordance its guidelines.
A policy helps everyone to know:
- the business supports and treats everyone fairly
- what kind of behaviour is expected of them
- about discrimination and the law, and what is not acceptable
- where to find the procedures for resolving any problems
Your policy could also point employees to any extra activities or services that your workplace offers. These are a great way to learn more about equality and diversity. They include things such as:
- staff networks
- employee assistance groups or programmes
The power of equality and diversity in the workplace cannot be overstated. We have explored how and why fostering an inclusive environment where everyone is treated fairly is important. Everyone is different, and embracing these differences can offer a completely new perspective for a business. By taking equality and diversity to-heart, businesses not only promote social justice but also unlock a wealth of advantages that contribute to their long-term success.
Source: the above advice and information was sourced from https://www.acas.org.uk/improving-equality-diversity-and-inclusion