All organisations have to duty to provide employees and visitors with an inclusive and equal environment. The Equality Act was introduced in 2010 to ensure this, protecting individuals from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of protected characteristics such as age, gender, class, race, sexual orientation, marital status and disability.
While some progress has been made in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace in the UK, there is still work to be done. Workday found that 40% of employees reported feeling excluded in the workplace in 2021, and only 35% of organisations’ executive teams believed D&I to be vitally important to operations.
Our Equality and Diversity for Employees and Managers courses are flexible, eLearning training that highlights the role employers and employees have in creating a positive, inclusive work environment.
Benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace
There are many benefits to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, including:
- A larger talent pool to hire from.
- High levels of employee retention.
- An enhanced brand reputation.
- Improved productivity, creativity and innovation.
- Greater insight into customer needs.
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Be aware of unconscious bias
Unconscious biases are assumptions and beliefs that people may hold, which they aren’t consciously aware of having, and they can result in others being treated less favourably or even discriminated against. This can happen at all levels and activities in an organisation, from hiring to everyday office life. These biases are the result of an individual’s background, upbringing, personal experiences, and society and cultural stereotypes.
Employers and managers need to be aware of how unconscious biases in the workplace may impact their employees’ ability to perform their roles. By identifying unconscious biases, they can then pinpoint behaviours that reinforce them. This can be done by creating focus groups, asking employees for anonymous feedback on their experiences, providing training and encouraging employees to face their own personal biases and assumptions.
Review company policies
Discrimination can occur in any area of an organisation, including in its policies. To combat this, employers should review current policies to ensure they are as inclusive as possible as part of a diversity and inclusion in the workplace strategy. It is also important to involve employees in these discussions, as they may engage with policies more frequently.
Write inclusive job ads
Reviewing your hiring process can help promote diversity and inclusivity in your workplace.
Without care, even a simple task such as writing job ads can be affected. Using terms that reference age, gender or disability can be exclusionary to those who may still be able to fulfil the role but do not fit the written description. Using non-specific language such as gender-neutral pronouns and asking a colleague to review the job ads before posting can help remove bias and make them as inclusive as possible.
Use blind hiring processes
By removing all identifiable details such as name, age and gender, you also remove any initial bias about the candidate that may influence hiring decisions. Blind hiring processes allow HR personnel to remain objective and make decisions based on the factors that count the most, such as skills and previous job experience.
In 2022, women who took part in blind hiring practices saw their chances of success increase to 46%.
Ensure pay equality
Employers have a responsibility to ensure equal and fair opportunities for all their employees. However as of April 2021, the gender pay gap in the UK was 7.9%, and with social discomfort around discussing salaries with colleagues, this pay disparity can easily go unnoticed. By regularly reviewing salary details, employers should take steps to address and correct any pay imbalance in their organisation.
Acknowledge all cultural and religious holidays
Promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace by acknowledging cultural and religious holidays and celebrations outside of those connected to public holidays in the UK, such as Diwali and Eid al-Adha. Using internal scheduling systems is an easy to way to remind employees of other holidays and celebrations, and can help them be more respectful to their colleagues who observe them when scheduling meetings and deadlines. By inviting conversations about different religious and cultural celebrations, employers can promote multicultural respect.
Encourage employee feedback
By encouraging employee feedback, organisations can gain a better understanding of how their efforts towards promoting diversity and inclusivity are working.
Providing employees with anonymous feedback opportunities, such as pulse surveys or thought boxes, are the best way to encourage transparency and facilitate immediate action. This feedback can help employers and managers quickly solve pressing issues while also informing long-term diversity and inclusivity strategies.
Provide diversity and inclusivity training
Comprehensive diversity and inclusion training, such as Praxis42’s Equality and Diversity for Employees course, can help address biases and promote respectful, positive interactions among employees in the workplace. This type of training teaches employees to embrace and understand diverse perspectives in order to work more productively as a team.
Training should also be provided for managers to ensure the organisation is in line with government legislation and that they understand how to correctly handle instances of discrimination in the workplace.