No matter what industry you operate in, there are certain factors that need to be addressed and it’s vital that employers keep up with not only the times, but industry standards as well. It wasn’t that long ago that people were calling for equality within businesses – and although the concept of this is by no means a bad thing, it was soon realised that treating everyone the same with ‘equality’ wasn’t actually making the change that were required and things needed to go further.
Equity is the realisation that everyone is different and has different needs – and in order to truly have an equal workplace, everyone has to be treated differently based on their own specific needs and circumstances.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is about offering policies, programs, and making real change in a workplace, in order to provide employees with a fair, honest, and equitable experience.
What Does DEI Include?
There are different elements and characteristics that you need to be aware of when creating DEI policies, in some countries (such as the UK) these characteristics are protected and guaranteed by law.
- Sexual orientation
- Marital or Civil Partnership status
- Religion or Belief
- Pregnancy or maternity status
In the past, it was common to see unethical hiring practices, where employees were chosen, not for their abilities or talents, but because they ticked a box on a checklist for inclusivity; and although this may have helped businesses appear progressive – with the advances in social media, internet news sharing, and the ability to whistle-blow – businesses who approach DEI as a “necessary evil” rather than something that genuinely stands at the heart of the business, are finding that people aren’t as forgiving or agreeable to engaging with them.
67% of employees say that diversity is an important factor to them when considering a job, and 70% of diverse companies are more likely to capture new markets – so handling DEI properly can have a powerful impact on a business and its profitability; in fact 78% believe that diversity and inclusion offer a competitive advantage.