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Nurturing progress: employment, equality, and DE&I initiatives in the workplace

Tania Findlay Associate Director 19/09/2023
1 in 4 (27%) have considered leaving a job because they don't feel comfortable expressing themselves or their views.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives have gained paramount importance within the workplace. Having strong DE&I initiatives in place is integral to not only shaping the success of businesses but also the fabric of our society. These interconnected pillars are integral to creating thriving workplaces that embrace diversity, ensure fairness, and foster an environment where every individual’s potential can flourish. Yet, Savanta’s intersectionality Research amongst employees shows that only 2 in 5 companies currently have a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion task force, team, or something similar (38%).

The imperative of equality and the foundation of growth

Society is evolving, and good work is happening, but almost 1 in 3 (28%) still suffered discrimination in the workplace, increasing to 44% for BIPOC and 61% for those identifying as gender non-conforming.

At the heart of any thriving economy lies robust employment opportunities. Employment not only fuels personal growth but also contributes significantly to societal development. A diverse workforce can bring together a plethora of skills, experiences, and perspectives that drive innovation, problem-solving, and better decision-making.

However, the journey towards equitable employment begins with dismantling barriers that hinder access to opportunities for marginalised groups, and this is still something that needs to be worked on – Only 66% of employees are happy with their employer, and almost 2 in 5 (17%) feel discriminated against by them. 1 in 4 (27%) have considered leaving a job because they don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves or their views.

Realistically, we are still suffering with the cost of living, so while DE&I isn’t what employees consider the most important priority for employers, almost 1 in 3 would like employers to prioritise DE&I initiatives in the workplace (as well as work-life balance (59%), opportunities for growth (37%), competitive compensations (31%).

 

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I am fortunate to work for an organisation with a very committed DE&I committee (of which I am proud to be a part of). Solving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) issues in the workplace requires a comprehensive approach and an ongoing commitment. Below are some initial steps to consider:

  • Leadership Commitment: Ensure top-down commitment to DE&I initiatives, with leaders setting an example and advocating for inclusive practices.
  • Education and Training: Provide ongoing training to employees on unconscious bias, cultural competence, and inclusive communication to raise awareness and promote understanding.
  • Diverse Hiring: Implement inclusive hiring practices, such as using diverse interview panels and reaching out to underrepresented groups to increase diversity within the workforce.
  • Equitable Policies: Review and update company policies to ensure they are fair and inclusive, covering areas like recruitment, promotion, pay, and accommodations.
  • Inclusive Culture: Foster an environment where all employees feel valued and respected by celebrating diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Employee Resource Groups: Create safe spaces for underrepresented employees, allowing them to connect and contribute to DE&I initiatives.
  • Representation: Ensure diverse representation in leadership positions, decision-making processes, and company materials to reflect a commitment to inclusivity.
  • Inclusive Benefits: Provide benefits that support diverse needs, such as parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and mental health resources.

By raising awareness about unconscious biases, employees can become more mindful of their judgements and interactions, creating an environment of respect and understanding. This training encourages constructive conversations and helps eliminate stereotypes that can hinder collaboration.

Remember that DE&I is an ongoing effort that requires continuous evaluation, adaptation, and improvement. It’s essential to create an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best, and training is key. Currently, only 2 in 5 (42%) say their company has provided any DE&I training in the last year, but of those that have, 3 in 4 (74%) say it has had an impact.

Less than 1 in 2 (42%) are optimistic about businesses making positive changes towards diversity and inclusion. 1 in 3 (38%) believe a truly inclusive and collaborative workplace will only be possible with a change in their business leadership.

By creating an environment where every individual can contribute their unique strengths, we can harness the power of human potential to drive innovation, build resilient businesses, and forge a path toward a more just and harmonious world.

To find out more about how Savanta can help you understand your employees, their perception of your business, and how you can improve the DE&I initiatives in your workplace, contact us here.

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