Inclusion and diversity in the workplace
September sets its focus on workplace inclusion and diversity, with the 9th annual Inclusion Week commencing 27th September. The week-long observance celebrates, encourages and shares inclusion practices, uniting organisations together worldwide.
This year’s 2021 Inclusion Week theme centres around unity, the coming together of global teams to combine in the efforts towards better inclusion.
The definition of diversity, simply put, is variety.
The CIPD states that “diversity recognises that, though people have things in common with each other, they are also different many ways. Inclusion is where those differences are seen as a benefit, and where perspectives and differences are shared, leading to better decisions. Everyone should have a right to equal access to employment and when employed, should have equal pay and equal access to training and development. Here you’ll find information on equal opportunities, managing inclusion and diversity.”
Organisations are being looked at to promote and support inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Ultimately, a diverse workforce culture that goes above and beyond the minimum efforts benefits by standing out in the crowd in recruiting and retaining employees.
What are inclusion and diversity?
Whilst inclusion and diversity often go in unison; they are distinct from each other. Therefore organisations should consider both within their policies, strategies and practice.
An inclusive working climate offers a space where individuals feel they belong without expectations to conform, where their participation matters. A place that they can perform to their full potential regardless of their identity, circumstances or backdrop.
Diversity is about recognising differences, recognising the advantages gained from having a team with a wide range of perspectives representing the organisation.
What are ‘differences’ when it comes to inclusion and diversity?
People come from a vast range of different backgrounds, which will shape different cultures, experiences and identities, encompassing expansive hidden and visible factors.
Differences include visible and hidden factors, for instance, personal characteristics such as background, culture, personality, work style, accent, and language. It’s essential to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to managing people does not achieve everyone’s fairness and equality of opportunity. People have diverse individual needs, values and expectations.
Consistent fairness in the way that businesses treat their employees is critical. Numerous characteristics are shielded by the discrimination law to protect people from discrimination, including:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Sexual orientation
How can you impact inclusion and diversity?
There are several approaches organisations can take to protect their employees and impact inclusion and diversity.
- Creating an Equal Opportunity policy that sets goals and milestones to monitor the impact
- Creating an Equality and Diversity policy that is easily accessible to all employees
- Providing training for employees and management in equality and diversity
- Produce anonymous surveys to understand how your employees perceive the organisation’s inclusion practices
- Offer flexible opportunities for employees to attend religious holidays
- Accommodate reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities
- Ensure your workforce understands the correct protocol for grievances concerning equality and diversity
- Treat each employee as an individual, with regard and dignity
Handling grievances in the workplace tests everyone involved – particularly in prejudice cases and the employer must provide a duty of care to employees.
How can you participate in National Inclusion Week to promote inclusion and diversity within your organisation?
If your organisation wants to participate, you can quickly register with National Inclusion Week. You will receive your #UnitedForInclusion Toolkit, comprising of the necessary resources to coordinate activities within your organisation.
You can also opt to run your own activities to celebrate National Inclusion Week together, offering input from your employees to ensure you are providing a safe forum for all to feel embraced and included.
For practical advice on implementing effective policies and a culture that supports inclusion and diversity, get in touch.