Race Equality Week, a UK-wide initiative, uniting thousands of organisations and individuals to address race inequalities in the workplace, took place from 6-12 February 2023. That same week was also spent marking Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week, which strives to raise awareness and educate communities and individuals on how to prevent sexual violence.
In the context of the workplace, these awareness events highlight the need for companies to be conscious of how their own Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) practices can effectively reduce the inequalities faced by certain groups, and contribute to the wellbeing and equality of outcomes and impact all employees.
Promoting and delivering EDI in the workplace is a fundamental aspect of good people management. The CIPD report that, in order to reap the benefits of EDI, employers must focus on creating working environments and cultures where every individual can feel safe, have a sense of belonging and is empowered to achieve their full potential.
Many employers ask, what are the benefits of taking EDI seriously? Why should we do it? The reality is, if an EDI strategy is implemented well and is embedded at every level of the organisation, the benefits can be significant.
The main benefits are linked to talent, as research shows that people want to work for employers with good employment practices, and want to feel valued at work. Further benefits include an improved corporate reputation and better business performance – openness to diversity widens access to the best talent, whilst inclusion allows engagement with talent effectively.
With the increased focus on EDI amongst many employers in 2023, and the research which shows that this is something employees now look for when searching for a new role, it is important that businesses consider how to avoid paying lip service, and how they can truly make an impact. Many organisations will claim they are answering the call to build a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, but few will do the hard work necessary to ensure it happens. This means investing time and resources into setting clear goals and expectations, deciding how to measure progress, rethinking processes and holding individuals to account for their part in driving the EDI agenda forward.
Forbes sets out some practical steps which can be taken to make a real difference to the EDI agenda.
- Focus on achieving a diverse workforce from top to bottom. Organisations should embed diversity at all levels and work to build careers of minority hires through opportunities and mentoring.
- Educate the workforce on inclusivity. Staff at all levels need to be able to understand how a diverse organisation helps everyone, and educating the workforce should be part of creating an inclusive culture. Implementing EDI training across all levels will help team members to understand why it helps the business in the long run, how it builds a more innovative approach and how each individual can have an impact.
- Build a sound support structure. Ensure staff feel welcome at the induction stage, seek their feedback on cultural challenges and provide senior leadership recommendations to implement more inclusive company policies.
- Measure your results. Any steps you take should have measurable results so that you can continue to refine your efforts to achieve greater EDI.
If you require expert advice in relation to your company’s EDI agenda and practical steps you can take to make a difference, reach out to one of our specialists for support by contacting us here.