Government’s support for equality, diversity and inclusion within the workplace

17 April 2018

Justyna Cowman, HR Administrator at Aspire Business Partnership LLP blogs on equality, diversity and inclusion within the workplace.

What is happening?

The subject of diversity and inclusion has been discussed for many years, however it is becoming increasingly important due to recent scandals involving sexual harassment, discrimination and the introduction of initiatives such as Gender Pay Gap Reporting.  All of these factors introduce another barometer by which the reputation of a company is measured. 

Further Government commitment was demonstrated in March 2018 when the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport brought over 100 organisations together to discuss addressing diversity issues and promoting fairness.

The law

The Equality Act 2010 prevents discrimination within the workplace. The legislation was introduced to ensure fairness in the treatment of individuals and consistency in organisational employment processes.

All candidates and employees have the right to be treated equally on grounds of:

  • gender,
  • age,
  • sexual orientation,
  • race,
  • disability,
  • religion and belief
  • pregnancy.

Less favourable treatment of an individual based on the above personal characteristics is deemed discriminatory. Discrimination can happen at various different stages of employment, for example:

  • During the recruitment process – making a decision not to hire someone based purely on a personal characteristic
  • During employment – paying an employee less than another worker without good reason
  • End of employment – discriminatory termination or selection for redundancy

Why is diversity important?

Recruitment of best talent

The working patterns and the type of workforce available are shifting. The Health and Safety Executive highlights the importance of tackling discrimination, as the working population is getting older and the number of women and ethnic minorities is rising. Accommodating a varied labour force and promoting diversity increases the chance of selecting and retaining the best employee from the widest possible talent pool. This increases the business’ attractiveness to both potential employees and customers.

Effectiveness of teamwork

It is essential for organisations to ensure that diversity is supported within the work place, not only as it is a legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010, but also to promote an environment where employees feel respected and included. Research shows that cognitive diverse teams perform more efficiently and reach their set goals faster than teams with similar cognition. Teams consisting of diverse members bring various different skills sets and experiences which translate into creativity and greater innovation.

Business wide purpose

Promotion and maintenance of diversity within the workplace can aid market competitiveness. Diversity promotes better customer service, driven by the requirement to be like our customers and to identify, understand and correspond with them in a way that mirrors their concerns. Corporate reputation is also at stake as, due to gender pay gap reporting, there is extra public awareness of companies who promote diversity or shy away from it.

Neurodiversity

The term ‘neurodiversity’ is becoming increasing popular and defines the developing subgroup of workplace diversity and inclusion that is focused on the inclusion of individuals with alternative thinking styles, such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD. Neurodivergence can bring many strengths to the company. Sir Richard Branson listed dyslexia as one of his reasons for success: “dyslexic people can be hugely creative in identifying solutions to problems, and in coming up with new ways to tackle challenges… Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, artists, and tech professionals are dyslexic – yours truly included. From my own experience, I know that dyslexic people can achieve great things when they focus on their strengths and get the right support in school.” By engaging with neurodivergent talent, employers promote inclusion and management styles that consider the needs of each of their employees on an individual basis.

Aspire can help

Aspire HR can assist you by developing an effective recruitment and retention process in order to enable you to lower staff turnover and in effect, cost. We can also help you to reinforce this by implementing an equal opportunity policy and support diversity and inclusion decision making to aid your business objectives.