5 Benefits of Equality and Diversity in The Workplace
The Equality Act of 2010 was implemented to legally protect people from discrimination in the workplace and in society. However, equality and diversity isn’t just about who you hire, but also about how people are treated in the workplace and how diversity is successfully supported across colleagues.
In 2010, the Equality Act replaced anti-discrimination laws to make it easier to understand and to strengthen protection in some situations; the act clearly sets out the ways in which someone should not be treated.
Valuing diversity equality and diversity is vital to any workplace and will be a benefit to your business; if you require any help in making the right steps for your business, ICENA offers services to support the creation of safe and inclusive workplaces.
What is Equality and Diversity in The Workplace?
The Equality and Human Rights Commision has described equality as “Ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents”. In the workplace, it is vital that this is upheld in order to allow individuals the same opportunity to progress as all of their colleagues.
In the UK, The Equality Act 2010 means that people cannot be discriminated against for any of the following reasons:
- Gender reassignment
- Sexual orientation
- Religion and belief
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
Why Equality & Diversity Is Important in the Workplace
Having both diversity and equality in the workplace not only helps but encourages businesses to grow; employees can’t all be the same and having a diverse workforce will allow for different ideas and ways of thinking.
Connecting with customers and clients is vital for workplaces to develop and having a diverse workforce will likely reflect on more of your customers than having a single demographic, making your business more relatable and increasing customer retention.
Gender Equality has been a focal point for employees for years, and it’s now at its lowest level since records began. In the Gender Equality Monitor (GEM) report released by the Government, it shows that: for every £1 the average man earns, the average woman earns 82p.
A recent case study released by the British Council in March 2020 in the Developing Skills Programming Through a Gender Lens notes that Lao PDR faces major skills shortages in technical fields including construction, furniture making, plumbing, electrical, and automotive industries. The number of female students is increasing at public TVET colleges (43% of students enrolled in 2016–2017), they are mostly in occupations traditionally deemed “female” including tailoring, basic business administration, and hospitality.
These figures come as the GEM report also recognises that the proportion of people agreeing that “a man’s job is to earn the money; a woman’s job is to take care of the home and family” was 72% in 2017, but has fallen significantly from 43% in 1984.
The Benefits of Equality and Diversity in The Workplace
1: Different Perspectives, Ideas and Skills
Inclusivity is important in business in order to ensure the public can see that you cater for all; therefore a diverse team will allow you to develop new perspectives and ideas through a variety of new skills. People with different backgrounds are likely to have had different life experiences, and therefore are likely to have different thoughts and ideas for the business. Different ideas will encourage innovation from all areas of the compan
2: Improves Your Business Reputation
A diverse environment is important to most people when looking for the right company, not just to work for, but to buy from. If your business isn’t diverse, it could cause damage to your reputation, particularly if there have been any reports of discrimination or harassment. In the UK, businesses with over 250 employees must publish figures about their gender pay gap on a website which anyone can access; if your business has a particularly large gap, you may see a quick change in how people view your business. Negative public perception can result in less sales but it can also have a big impact on employee retention.
If, as a business, you choose to actively push for equality and a diverse environment, you will notice a boost in public image and future employees will be more likely to choose you as their place of work.
3: Reduces Staff Turnover
Being accommodating for your staff will certainly reduce staff turnover and maintain retention; this comes under equality and pushing for diversity. Benefits including flexible working hours, time off for religious holidays and a crèche if the option is available will ensure that your staff feel as though they are able to work to their best ability without having those concerns. If these options are available to staff members, they’re more likely to stay at your company over an organisation who is not as accommodating.
As a business, if your employees feel well-treated and safe at work, not only are they more likely to stay, but they’re also likely to recommend the business to someone else, thus saving on recruitment costs.
4: Saves Costs
A high retention rate and a recommendation scheme will save on recruitment costs, but it will also push for internal promotions. Supporting your staff throughout their growth process in your business will always be a benefit, and it is cost-effective. It removes the recruitment and job advertisement process, and it decreases the risk-factor of someone joining who isn’t right for the role.
5: Attracts New Talent
A diverse and supportive working environment will attract people from all backgrounds, which will also open up the business to new talent. More people will apply for the roles at your company which will mean you have a greater list of people to choose from and you can ensure the best level of experience, expertise and talent for your organisation.