The Missing Letter in D&I: Why You Should Invest in Workplace Equity
Diversity and inclusion are buzzwords that have been thrown around in recent years, particularly in business. Now more than ever, organisations are investing in strategies and policies centred around diverse recruitment and inclusive working environments. Though D&I strategies are created with good intentions, they often miss a key letter: ‘E’ for equity.
Equity goes one step further than diversity and inclusion to ensure there is fair treatment, accessibility, and opportunities for people of all abilities, sexualities, genders, races and more.
Examples of equity include skills-based hiring, equal benefits and transparent wages, to name a few of the small changes businesses can make to create a more inclusive workplace.
Learn more about equity in our comprehensive guide, including how to hire an expert for your corporate conference.
What is equity?
According to Oxford Dictionary, ‘equity’ in the context of inclusion is defined as:
“…a system of natural justice allowing a fair judgment in a situation that is not covered by the existing laws…”
Equity is the missing link between diversity and inclusion. In the workplace, the term refers to equal opportunities for employees of all backgrounds, communities and abilities.
Let’s use the popular ‘seat at the table’ analogy to explain. ‘Diversity’ means that every person, no matter their differences, gets to sit at the table, while ‘inclusion’ ensures that they feel welcomed and accepted at the table.
However, what if the individual is in a wheelchair, paralysed from the neck down? They may be invited to the table and told they are accepted at the table, but due to their disability, they will struggle to use an able-bodied seat.
If equality means that everyone gets treated the same, equity means that everyone gets treated fairly – not despite their differences, but because of them. From installing wheelchair ramps to being transparent about wages to tackle the gender pay gap, it is about being aware of how to ensure opportunities are equitable.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statistic You Need to Know
- By 2024, women will make 47.2% of the workforce
- 78% of employees believe their organisations lack diverse leadership
- Diverse companies outperform their competitors by 58%
- Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders
- 3/4 of employees prefer diverse companies and 80% want inclusive companies
Why is equity important in the workplace?
In the workplace, equity means that a diverse workforce feels catered for, particularly with opportunities and the working environment. This is important as it helps to retain talented staff members, reduce often costly turnover and position your company on the right side of history. Incorporate equity into your diversity and inclusion to complete the required three-pillar strategy for optimum employee performance and wellbeing.
Examples of Equity in the Workplace
- Recruitment: Equitable companies acknowledge their own bias in the hiring process and even omit applicants’ names and images to avoid discrimination. By focusing on skills and experience only, blind recruitment identifies the best applicant for the job.
- Salary: Equitable pay first identifies the diversity among leadership positions and then the standard of equal pay. For example, male and female employees who do the same jobs may be paid the same, but if all of the senior figures are male, then there is still a disparity. Pay equity combines diversity with equal pay.
- Accommodations: Equity identifies the specific working conditions that each employee needs to succeed. When workplaces make the required accommodations, every staff member can bring their authentic selves to work. This may look like allowing employees with health conditions to work from home, or offering flexible hours to parents with childcare requirements.
Source: Human Rights Careers
How to improve equity in the workplace?
There are countless ways to improve equity in the workplace, and everyone has their own top tips. However, the changes your company makes must be relevant to your industry, so it is important to first do your research.
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