Why Equality matters in the workplace
Equality in the workplace simply means that everyone receives fair treatment and has access to the same opportunities. When every situation in the workplace is dealt with in a transparent way, everyone knows what to expect in terms of consequences and rewards for their performances.
It sets up an advantageous environment for both employees and employer for a number of reasons.
Inclusive workplaces respect and protect the principles of fairness, dignity, diversity and respect for all of their workers. It should be a core focus for any business, with a wide range of benefits. The easiest way to achieve that is with an equality and diversity policy, backed up by practical measures to promote it.
The opportunities afforded by an equitable workplace motivate employees to work harder towards their goals. Believing that the reward will correspond to the efforts made, will motivate employees to do their best. This behavior is explained by equity theory, which links fairness to employee effort. When people receive bonuses, pay and promotions at a job that equitably rewards merit, the company ends up with the best people in the most adequate places doing the right things. Equity, then, sets the stage for a dynamic culture of achievement.
An employee who believes they can have a bright future with a company who is loyal, as long as it is properly rewarded for their efforts. When employees stay, companies are relieved of brain drain, the expense of training replacement employees and watching former employees enrich competitors with training provided by the original employer.
Being an equal opportunity employer also helps build brand reputation and build loyalty to the business within the community and among employees. Research found that loyalty and pride in an organization are strongly correlated with a sense of belonging within the group. Key constituents of an organization recognize genuine efforts to achieve equality and will actively maintain and strengthen their relationship with the company.
Attracting talent is easier for companies that pursue workplace equality and foster a meritocracy than it is for those that only worry about not breaking employment laws. People who have a lot to offer want to be compensated fairly without worrying about hidden agendas that lead to preferential treatment for a chosen few. It means that the investment of their intellect, energy and dedication pays off.
Breadth by Diversity
Equality in the workplace helps brings together workers from all different backgrounds and puts all perspectives on the table. This promotes intra-company and inter-company networking, boosts morale, and builds cohesive teams focused on achieving positive results for the company.
Diversity is often the result of workplaces that are functioning equitably, assuming that the potential workers have equitable access to educational opportunities.
Diversity in a workplace means more experience, more perspectives and more source material to draw from in brainstorming, solving problems and creating innovative products or services. A company's intellectual capital gains depth and breadth through diversity.
Enhanced Bottom Line
A culture that achieves, possesses breadth and depth, retains employees and draws top talent makes a company competitive and favorably affects its bottom line. Such companies also have high morale among employees, which also enhances the bottom line. A 2010 study published in "Inc." showed that companies engaging employees at high levels performed better than normal in the stock market and enjoyed higher shareholder returns than other companies.
How can my business promote equality?
Fundamentally, a business is responsible for ensuring equality in a business and this is easily achieved through some key behaviors.
Acknowledge and respect individual beliefs, practices and backgrounds, and recognize the importance of a diversity of approaches to a problem.
Discuss it regularly and openly with employees, to encourage open dialogue and understanding.
Ensure equality training as part of your recruitment process for new employees. Your culture of equality should be promoted to prospective employees during interviews as well.
Consider flexible work scheduling and attendance for individual circumstances. Allowing someone to leave or flexibility to meet family needs, religious holidays and observance, or other special circumstances promote your business as an employer of excellence. This will also contribute to happier, more productive employees.
Have a clear process to deal with complaints or issues in relation to equality for all stakeholders.
Use an employee profile management system to keep track of employee skills, qualifications, and other notes.
A complete employee profile makes sure the best possible candidates are selected for promotions and special projects on merit.
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