What are the benefits of Equality & Diversity in the Workplace? Organisations need to be forward-thinking when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Employees of all ages, genders, races and cultural backgrounds benefit the workforce with their vast array of skills and ideas. By embracing equality, an organisation can benefit from diversity in the workforce. Different people bring different perspectives, ideas and abilities to the table. Therefore, this will improve productivity and help your business.
What is equality?
Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents. No one should have poorer life chances because of the things that make us different, such as race, gender, disability or religious beliefs.
In society, and in the workplace, we must treat everyone as an individual regardless of their background, circumstance or lifestyle.
What is diversity?
When the term diversity is applied to people and populations, it usually means the things that make people different from each other, such as personality, religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, interests, beliefs, lifestyles, personal and cultural identities, socio-economic status, education and work experience.
Our CPD-certified online Equality & Diversity training course outlines the nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. It also describes the different types of discrimination and includes examples of when each type might occur in the workplace.
The language of equality and diversity
Sadly, discrimination, prejudice, labelling, harassment and victimisation are still present in many workplaces.
It will be useful for you to understand the meaning of these terms:
can be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination occurs when you are treated differently and worse than someone else for certain reasons. The Equality Act calls this less favourable treatment. Direct discrimination can be because of who you are, who someone thinks you are or someone you are with. Indirect discrimination occurs when a working condition or rule applies in the same way for everybody but disadvantages a group of people who share a protected characteristic.
is any preconceived opinion or feeling formed without knowledge, thought, or reason. These opinions can be favourable, unfavourable or hostile. Prejudices usually come from people we admire or sources we trust, such as family members or the media.
means defining a person based on just one of their characteristics. For instance, someone who drinks may be labelled as alcoholic or someone who has broken the law may be labelled as a criminal. Labelling can have powerful negative implications and, therefore, lead to unfair treatment.
is defined in the Equality Act as unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment because of a particular protected characteristic.
is when someone treats you less favourably because you have complained about discrimination, or you have helped someone else to make a complaint.
Benefits that equality and diversity bring to your business
If you don’t take equality and diversity seriously, you may find yourself breaking the law. But there are other good reasons for treating people fairly.
1. Different perspectives, ideas and skills
Equality makes the best use of the talents of all workers. Employees of all ages, genders, races and cultural backgrounds benefit the workforce. For example, different people bring different perspectives, ideas and abilities to the table. This will improve productivity and help your business to develop.
2. Tap into new markets
A diverse workforce can help your business grow, as people from different backgrounds will have knowledge of different customers, clients and markets. When you give equal opportunities to a wide range of people, you will appeal to more customers and clients.
3. Improve your business’s reputation
Businesses that fail to offer equal opportunities and embrace diversity are at risk of reputational damage. Bad publicity and a poor reputation have a negative impact on sales, employee morale and employee retention. It can also affect your business relationship with partners and investors.
However, when you actively promote equality and diversity in the workplace, the opposite happens. Your reputation improves, sales increase, and employee satisfaction and productivity rockets.
4. Attract a larger talent pool
If businesses have an open-minded and a positive approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, they appeal to a wider range of potential employees. Also, by having a larger talent pool you increase the chances of finding the candidate with the right skills and experience.
5. Reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs
If it is clear that everyone in your business is treated equally, employees are more likely to be happy and comfortable in their role. For instance, if employees feel safe at work and are able to be themselves, they are more likely to stay with your business long term, reducing your employee turnover and recruitment costs.
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