What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity means recognising the differences between people in a workforce. Diversity covers many different characteristics including but not limited to ethnicity, sex, disability, age, language, life experiences, physical characteristics, and neurodiversity.
In HR, diversity is about recognising the benefits that having people from a range of different backgrounds, different cultures, and various life experiences bring to workplace performance and culture.
If diversity brings the potential for creativity and innovation, inclusion is what allows it to happen. Inclusion refers to employees' feelings of being supported, respected and valued in their workplace, allowing them to thrive in their careers.
Equity means working to provide equal opportunities for advancement and access in a workplace, removing systemic barriers that hold particular groups back. It also means treating all employees fairly based on their individual needs.
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
One of the key functions of HR departments is to promote diversity and inclusion. Just having a diverse group of employees isn't enough - the culture of the organisation also needs to be inclusive.
There's a strong business case for promoting diversity and inclusion - research by McKinsey and Co found that the most diverse companies were likely to have above average profits. When organisations encourage diversity and inclusion, they also attract top talent and improve employee satisfaction. Plus, numerous studies have suggested a correlation between having a diverse board of directors and better financial performance.
The following resources can help HR leaders boost workplace equality and success with diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- How to Build and Implement Diversity and Inclusion Policies
Is your Human Resources department ready to implement a diversity and inclusion strategy? XCD's guide explains how HR teams can create a successful policy for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
- Blind Recruitment Blog
Can removing all identifying features such as name, gender, and ethnicity from candidates' applications help improve diversity in hiring? In this article, we question whether blind hiring is an effective solution to remove bias and attract diverse talent in the recruitment process.
- Employing Ex-Offenders: HR Guidance
Once released from prison, ex-offenders can work with full employee rights. Research has suggested that ex-offenders have higher rates of retention and loyalty because of their desire to stay out of prison. Read our guidance for HR departments looking to hire ex-offenders here.
Discover how HR solutions can improve diversity and inclusion using data-driven analytics and reporting tools, and AI-driven language processing to reduce bias in job descriptions.
Want to know how other organisations have created diverse and inclusive workplaces? Our case studies can provide inspiration.
Management consultancy Clarasys have introduced diversity and inclusion policies, events, and conversations into their workplace to create a more inclusive work environment. Read more about how they utilise initiatives such as training, data, and a content overhaul on their website to put equality first in their workplace.
Gender Equality and Diversity and Inclusion
Discrimination based on gender, including maternity and pregnancy discrimination, is a major problem. Here, we've put together our resources for ensuring a gender-diverse and equal workforce.
- Why Gender Equality Should be a HR Priority in Your Organisation
The Coronavirus pandemic has been damaging to gender equality in many ways. This article explores the reasons that HR should focus on gender equality and suggests key actions that Human Resources can implement to show a commitment to equality.
- What is a Menopause Policy and Why HR Should Create One
With around 4.4 million 50-64 year old women in the workforce, it's important that HR implements menopause policies to support them. This article explains what a menopause policy can look like, how it can benefit your workforce and company culture, and encourages HR to develop one.
Every year, organisations with 250+ employees are required to report on their gender pay gap. This guide explains how this process works and what it means for your business.
What Does the Law Say About Diversity and Inclusion?
The Equality Act
In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 is a legal protection against discrimination in the workforce, meaning that it's illegal to discriminate against a person for any 'protected characteristics'. These protected characteristics include disability, sexual orientation, age, sex, race, religion or belief, marital status, gender reassignment, or pregnancy and maternity.
Gender Pay Gap Reporting
It is also mandatory for UK organisations with 250 or more employees to do annual gender pay gap reporting - this means publicly sharing the difference between the average earnings of men and women across the workforce.
Compliance with these regulations should be treated by HR as a minimum standard, not the extent of promoting equality in the workforce.
Reducing Unconscious Bias
Unlike conscious bias, where a person is aware of the prejudice they have against a person or group, unconscious bias is a stereotype or opinion that a person isn't aware they have. In a healthcare setting, for example, unconscious bias might mean assuming that nurses are female and doctors are male.
Some things that HR might do to avoid unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias) in the workplace include:
- Use blind recruitment to assess applicants - using HR software to remove names and identifying features from their applications
- Create a culture of open conversations and dialogue where employees feel comfortable speaking up about how unconscious bias may be impacting the workplace
- Use an AI language tool to remove gendered wording from job descriptions and job titles
- Provide unconscious bias training to employees and line managers
- Create diverse recruitment panels
Intersectionality is a way of recognising that different aspects of a person's identity might lead to them facing unique discrimination and challenges. For example, a Black woman might experience misogyny and sexism in a very different way to white women; while racism and microaggressions towards her may be different to those experienced by Black men.
This means that for creating equality efforts in the workplace, HR teams need to create an inclusive environment that recognises and embraces intersectionality.