Equality and diversity in the workplace

Equality and Diversity in the Workplace

Understanding the importance of and impact of equity, equality and diversity in the workplace is vital to operating a reputable business. Respecting all employees and people, regardless of their background is something all businesses should consider mandatory, but fully comprehending the impact of diversity in the workplace is essential to ensuring people’s work experiences are truly equal.

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in related to nine defined protected characteristics. These are:

• Age.
• Disability.
• Gender reassignment.
• Marriage and civil partnership.
• Pregnancy and maternity.
• Race.
• Religion and belief.
• Sex.
• Sexual orientation.

Companies benefit from hiring people from a diverse range of backgrounds as it helps to widen the range of thinking in your workplace. Bringing together people from a wide range of different backgrounds allows for a more vibrant, creative, and inspiring work environment. The Harvard Business Review explored research that found “cognitively diverse” teams solve problems more quickly than “cognitively similar” ones.

Why is diversity in the workplace so important?

Equality and diversity in the workplace is important for your business and all workplaces. Let’s look at why it’s so vital for all companies.

1. Diverse employees understand a wider group of customers
Many companies offer their products around the world. To appeal to customers across the world, your organisation has to be inclusive of all the characteristics mentioned above. A diverse workplace helps to give your company the upper hand against its competitors. A good example of this is to consider the disabled population of the UK. Research found the spending power of the 12m+ disabled people in the country was over £80 billion in 2014, and this is bound to have increased. To successfully produce and market products to this sector of customers, you need to know the customer as well as possible and design to their needs. Employing disabled people can help you to better understand their requirements.

2. Diverse workplaces break down language barriers
If you employ people from different regions, speaking different languages, you can access a much larger slice of the market. Employees of different nationalities allows you to tap into further customer segments and new markets. Being open to a wider range of candidates from different backgrounds, allows your business to access a much larger talent pool.

3. Equality and Diversity awareness and promotion increases employee satisfaction
Research by Gartner found employees at companies with high levels of diversity and inclusion are 20% more likely to remain in their roles. Companies committed to equality practices and policies have happier and more content employees who feel valued and respected. Demonstrating your commitment to equity in the workplace is appreciated by employees and benefits your wider organisation.

Investing in Equity and Diversity

All organisations should be committed to equity and diversity. You should want to run a company that brings together as much diversity as possible and represents as many of your customers as possible too. Specialist training in the area can help inform and support your initiatives and our range of courses includes a Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Equality and Diversity, ideal for understanding the concept in more depth and applying it to the workplace.

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