Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) is all about treating people fairly and ensuring they have equality of opportunity (EO).
In the UK in 2010 this was enshrined in law and is aligned to legislation across the European Union.
The principles are universal and within the work environment and throughout the employment life-cycle this concerns ensuring that all policies and procedures are fair and transparent.
Let’s start with some short definitions
Diversity: is about recognising difference and the benefits a diverse workforce bring to the workplace.
Inclusion: is about valuing that diversity and enabling everyone to perform to their full potential with fair policies and practices in place.
The case for D&I, to some it may seem obvious, but worth repeating:-
- Social justice – everyone should have the right to equal access to education and employment and not face direct or indirect discrimination based on their age, disability, race, religion or gender.
- It is good for business – better engagement with all stakeholders suppliers and customers
- It helps identify and encourage talent from across society
- It is good for corporate reputation and is part of the CSR agenda
The first step is to assess the current situation within the business.
Start with a review of the current strategy (if you have one) and the policies that support it.
Then conduct an audit of the actions – have they been evaluated – if so what is being done differently as a consequence.
They couldn’t have been perfect from day one?
This is about workplace behaviour, the responsibilities of all employees across the business.
With that goes good communication and training – whether ensuring all staff get appropriate training opportunities for their career or ensuring all staff have D&I awareness training,
addressing issues such as unconscious bias
At its heart this is a particular instance of a change management programme and like all change programmes making it stick is key.
Have a look at the LT theme Managing Change.
If you need to have a route map to improving D&I and the supporting learning & development (L&D) have a look at the PeopleMax Index.
The Index s a clear and easy to use management tool that provides you with significant information on your progress to creating a diverse and skilled workforce that is effective in meeting the needs of your customers and local communities. It provides a self-evaluation framework by which you can rate your performance against a set of 22 attributes. Each attribute has four levels of performance that might describe your organisation, from No provision through Base and Medium up to High provision. The index is applicable across all sectors and is independent of company size.
The index comprises two maturity models – /include and /develop – structured into a framework under three themes:
- Linking to your business
- Taking action
- Evaluating outcomes.
This is a good place to start improving your workplace.