More and more companies are coming under scrutiny when it comes to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). No longer thought of as a ‘nice to have’, people are now holding their employers accountable when it comes to failing to implement EDI policies.
A report by People Management revealed that 47% of leaders do not have a ready EDI strategy or action plan in place. However, when 67% of job seekers view workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities (Glassdoor), it shows just how vital an EDI policy is when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.
● Equality - is about ensuring every individual has equal opportunity and chances in the workplace
● Diversity - is all about acknowledging people’s differences, from their backgrounds to their identity
● Inclusion - is all about embracing and valuing differences, with the core belief that inclusion will build a stronger, more inclusive world
Implementing EDI policies into your business has many benefits for both your company and staff. These can include:
● Attracting and retaining employees - Research on the psychological contract highlights that people want to work for employers with good employment practices. It also helps staff feel valued and respect other colleagues.
● Improving business’ reputations - Those that focus on their workers as well as other factors like sustainability, tend to have a better reputation than those who don’t focus on EDI policies.
● Improving business performance - Enhancing inclusion opportunities allows better engagement between staff leading to improved innovation, creativity, productivity and business results.
When creating EDI policies it’s important to involve your staff in the process to help your business create truly inclusive and beneficial policies for all members. This will also help to further improve employee satisfaction and productivity.
HR teams play an important role in ensuring companies don’t fall into common pitfalls that have led to the years of inaction when it comes to implementing robust EDI policies.
As a result of this, HR teams should focus on:
● Seeking data - Every company uses a multitude of different platforms to track their people processes. HR teams can utilise these to highlight areas that are succeeding and need improving relating to EDI policies, such as recruitment, progression and access to learning and training.
● Looking into whether they need to hire experts - HR staff are usually the first port of call when it comes to EDI issues, however they don’t always have the training they need to handle situations properly. If this is the case then they should look into hiring experts that can focus on improving policies.
● Hold leaders accountable - Sometimes those higher up in the business make statements or promises without thinking about how they’re going to make them happen. Due to this it’s important for the HR team to make them accountable for their promises.
When it comes to implementing EDI policies, it’s important to assess various areas of the business to see whether they are succeeding or need improving in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Areas to assess, include:
● Employee behaviour
● Line Manager capabilities
● Senior Leadership
● Policies and wider people management practices
● Organisational culture, climate and values
Implementing EDI policies should involve an action plan that includes:
● How to improve staff’s understanding of the policies - This could be done through offering in person or online training courses that explains how to put them into practice
● How you can best monitor and measure policies - This is used to see what is and isn’t working
● Who is involved in putting the policy into action - This could be led by senior leadership or company owners, however everyone in the company should be putting this into practice.
Obviously it’s important to implement equality, diversity and inclusion policies, but it’s just as important to regularly review them. This is because it allows you to evaluate the impact your policies have had on your employees and what can be done to further improve their experiences at work.
When putting the plan into action the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion should be emphasised in these areas to all team members:
● Recruiting new staff
● Training and promoting existing staff
● Equal pay
● Religious beliefs and practices
● Dress code
● Unacceptable behaviour
● The dismissal of staff
● Different types of parental leave
● Flexible working
When measuring the success of your EDI policies it’s useful to compare them to the goals you’ve set. Adding on to this it’s important to gather both quantitative and qualitative data to understand where you are in terms of your goals and how your staff feel about whether the policies are working.
So how can you measure your progress?
One way of measuring diversity is through comparing data gathered before and after your policies were implemented. This could be done by gathering information on the following demographics:
● Sexual orientation
● Marital status
You could also gather data relating to your current employees and compare them to your applicants data. This will help you understand whether there are any biases in your hiring processes and how diverse your workforce is.
When measuring reputation within your company, you should look into whether underrepresented groups are in leadership positions and whether this has increased since introducing your policies.
However, there is still room for improvement if the majority of your employees from underrepresented groups are working in entry level roles rather than senior positions.
You can also calculate representation by taking the percentage of employees from controlled groups and comparing them to company benchmarks.
You can also track employee retention to see whether your EPI policies have been successful. You may not necessarily get a clear answer on why people have left the company, however employee turnover could indicate whether your company is prioritising equality, diversity and inclusion properly. For example if more underrepresented staff members are leaving then this could be a sign that you need to improve your EPI policies.
When looking into inclusion within your organisation, a great way to understand whether you’re inclusive is by gathering employee feedback. This can be completed through anonymous surveys and interviews.
Questions could cover areas like:
● Fair treatment
● Decision making
● Psychological safety
HR plays a huge role in driving equality, diversity and inclusion policies, as they need to work hard to ensure that they are implemented properly, allowing them to benefit staff as much as possible.
Following the announcement of the Back to Work Budget, HRs role in driving EDI policies is even more important than before. This is due to them needing to ensure their company makes reasonable adjustments and treats staff fairly after them re-joining the workforce.
Contact Payescape today to see how our HR system, HR Escape, can harness your employee data to help your company focus on their EPI policies and improve staff satisfaction.
Payescape Limited is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2017 (register number 821826) for the provision of payment services.