Equality and diversity are topics relevant in any workplace, of any size, whether you have a handful of employees or a few hundred! Whenever groups of people are put together, discrimination can occur. Equality and diversity push for everyone to have the same opportunities through being treated in the same way, no matter what age, gender, or race.
The responsibility comes from nowhere else other than the organisation itself, which is where training comes into the picture. If you actively promote equality and diversity throughout all areas of your business, the business itself will thrive in the long run not only because of the change it will cause throughout the workforce, but also the message you are giving out to potential customers and clients about the type of business you are.
Efforts made towards diversity and equality can often be forgotten by employers, a fact that is highlighted by the fact that 41% of people admitted their company made very few diversity efforts simply because they're "too busy", according to a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management.
This attitude needs to be changed by organisations being more proactive in their workplace management when it comes to diversity and equality through offering staff training. By following the rules and regulations out there, and creating an effective policy as a result, your business can reap the rewards.
The Importance of Training
An equality and diversity policy should apply to every aspect of the working process. From recruitment, salaries and benefits, right through to discipline procedures, promotion opportunities and after work activities. Your job is to have a protocol ready to cover all situations so that inequality never has the chance to thrive anywhere within your business. Once your policy is written down it makes it much easier to follow so that your employees will always have confidence in your commitment towards improving diversity.
Staff training is the perfect way to create a workforce made up of people with the consistent level of understanding and respect needed to tackle inequality and discrimination. By informing employees about the types of discrimination out there, the contents of the Equality Act, and the standards that need to be met, the business will run smoother all round. By helping you to promote a fairer, more tolerant and diverse working environment, the training really can have a huge impact on the general attitudes within the company.
Training should start from the top of the company and work its way down, covering all areas of the business structure. Whether it is the senior managers or a summer intern student, the compliance around diversity needs to be stressed to everyone in the workplace, because at the end of the day everyone has a responsibility to support equality and diversity.
Setting an Example
Google's head of diversity and inclusion for Europe and the Middle Eastern region says the key step is to challenge the structure of the level just below the senior executives and managers, because they are the board members of the future, so they'll be holding the influence in years to come. Google is aiming for the 50:50 level of men and women, a good example to be setting in their industry.
In 2011, they created a project called CodeF, a career development programme for women, specifically undergraduate computer scientists. The project aimed to increase the number of women working in the technology industry through professional mentoring.
CodeF is just one way that companies can spread the word about diversity, and with Google using this technique by giving women more opportunities, as well as staff training and having suitable policies ready and waiting, progress is being made to make diverse and equal workforces the 'norm'.