In the past year or so, the term ‘equity and social justice’ has become mainstream due in part to the Black Lives Matter protests. What started because of the death of George Floyd under police custody, had a ripple effect on all aspects of life, including equity in the workplace.
Companies and institutions are responding by making commitments to equity and inclusivity to their workforce. This not only helps them stay relevant in the changing times, but doing so will create vast new potential for economic expansion.
However, it is important to note that inclusivity and equity, an attempt to achieve fairness and equality for all people, is not a new concept. For the longest time, it has been an open secret that a man will be paid more than a woman for doing the same job. Or that a white person will likely earn more than their black counterparts..
Even defining equity can be difficult, so how can one implement equity diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Here are a few steps to take:
1. Equity in recruitment opportunity
It all begins in the hiring process; seek out candidates from underrepresented minorities in the society to be part of your workforce. Many executives will say that “if we hire for diversity, we are inclusive.” While this is true, it must come hand in hand with equitable hiring practices, such as reaching out to minorities in specific job portals. For the disabled, for instance, companies can work with non-profit organisations to get the word out.
2. Equity in access to development and opportunities
Once an employee is hired, you should ensure that they get an equal footing in receiving developmental opportunities such as training and courses. On top of that, they should be given adequate resources to do their job well and responsive feedback from their respective managers. When it comes to job performance evaluation, make certain that the system is fair so that it will not discriminate in regard to promotions.
3. Equity in support
Having mentors, someone you look up to, is crucial in one’s working life, including minority employees. Having somebody in a leadership position that comes from a similar background can offer them coaching and guidance.
Mentoring can help you retain minority top talent. However, this is not often the case, for instance, the IT industry’s workforce is dominated by ‘white males’ in all positions. This makes it hard for women and other ethnicities to break through and have an appropriate mentor.
4. Set equity targets
Setting specific targets in your HR policies that include hiring, retaining, engaging, and promoting underrepresented sections of your workforce is crucial to achieving inclusivity and equity. One example is the Half Initiative, created by Ryan Murphy. This initiative commits to ensuring equal opportunities for women and minorities behind the camera; an industry that males have dominated since the beginning of filmmaking.
5. Comply with laws and regulations
Affirmative action refers to various requirements that companies and institutions hire marginalised people. They are created so that the workforce can be more reflective of the general population.
Many countries worldwide have adopted such laws, including Malaysia, Canada, India, and the US. So, take a look at the hiring requirements or laws of where you open your business.
In today’s society, equity diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a vital component for every business. It is no longer negotiable. Not only will it eliminate the possibility of a groupthink consensus, but it also opens you up to new perspectives. Your business will reflect society at large, which is a good thing to attract more diverse customers and investors.