Zero Discrimination Day – The benefits of an inclusive culture within the workplace

Zero Discrimination Day is the day where organisations such as the United Nations actively promote and celebrate everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, height, weight, profession, education, and belief or other similar characteristics.  Whilst the day is intended to raise awareness of these issues across society in general, we will consider this from a workplace perspective.

The importance of Equal Opportunities within the workplace is now widely accepted by most employers who then take active steps to ensure their equalities policies are followed.  This is a positive step; however, could these employers take one step further and actively promote the key messages of inclusion at work?  Inclusion goes beyond the base principles of equality and focusses on valuing everyone in an organisation as an individual.  In essence, inclusion is the corner stone of good HR practice.   An inclusive workplace culture allows all people to not only deliver but also thrive at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance.

To consider if you your working environment is truly inclusive, ask yourself:

  • Does everyone feels able to participate and achieve their potential?
  • Do employees, customers and the wider public view your organisation as inclusive? What measures do you use to understand this?
  • Do you go beyond the minimum standard set by the Equality Act?
  • Do you have more than a dusty Equal Opportunities policy?  Is there an effective diversity and inclusion strategy?
  • Do you embrace practices that add value to the company and which benefit employee wellbeing and engagement of all?
  • Are line managers and their teams inclusive in all of their everyday activities?

Whilst many may consider things as being generally ok within the workplace, statics could indicate otherwise.  Findings from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (‘CIPD’) UK Working Lives survey highlight that 22% of employees feel that ‘other team members would judge others for being different’.   Whilst the importance of having an Equal Opportunities policy and ensuring employees are regularly trained and updated on it is necessary; this alone is not enough to ensure a diverse workplace.  Based on the aforementioned data, an Inclusion strategy may be a better starting point for organisations wanting to increase diversity and drive results.

The CIPD state: “Research links inclusion with employee satisfaction, creativity and reduced absenteeism, meaning that employees and employers stand to gain by being more inclusive. To do this, organisations need to take targeted action as part of their Diversity & Inclusion strategies, recognising that inclusion is relevant to everyone in the business. Indeed, research suggests that there are five areas where action needs to be taken being: employee behaviour; line manager capability; senior leadership; policies and wider people management practices and organisational culture, climate and values.”

To conclude, actively embracing inclusion could help drive the business forward for the future. Isn’t that something we should all consider on Zero Discrimination Day?

To talk about how to develop a more inclusive culture in your workplace, or if you need any HR or employment support with your policies, processes or people strategy, contact us for a free consultation and a chat about how we can help your business be on its best game at legal@lexleyton.co.uk

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