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Tips for Promoting Equality in the Workplace

We intrinsically know that diversity in the workplace promotes employee engagement which leads to overall improved organizational performance. Now we have the statistics to prove that a diverse employee population does positively impact the bottom line in organizations, namely McKinsey & Co.'s "2018 Delivering Through Diversity" and Deloitte's "2017 Global Human Capital Trends Report".

But striving to have a diverse workforce in not enough. Truly having equality in the workplace is even harder to achieve. A diverse workforce is a foundation for equality, but equality requires a culture that supports it. The tips that follow are steps that any organization can take to promote equality in their organization. What is not simple is rooting out behaviors in your workplace that undermine equality and then changing them.

Tip 1: Examine your current employee population

Working with your human resources department, calculate the overall minority employment percentage for the organization as well as the ratio of women and minorities in management positions.

Tip 2: Train your employees on diversity issues in the workplace

Many people are just not aware of sensitive diversity issues that other people in minority populations experience on a daily basis. Increasing your employee’s awareness is a first step.

Tip 3: Start with Recruitment

Championing diversity and equality should start as early as recruitment. Ensure your recruitment process uses the same criteria to assess all candidates so that no one is discounted because of their gender, sexuality or any other reason not directly related to their qualifications for the position.

Tip 4: Have a written policy

Review or write a company equal employment policy. Make certain your organization is in compliance with federal laws. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission watches for harassment, unfair treatment, retaliation and whether a company refused to provide “reasonable workplace accommodation” to employees in need. Have a labor attorney review any policy before implementation and set up a periodic review system to ensure your policy remains up-to-date.

Tip 5: Set consequences for discrimination and harassment

Set consequences for discrimination, harassment or any behaviors that create unacceptable work environments. Include progressive disciplinary procedures that your company will follow if one employee files a complaint against another employee. Counseling, probation and termination are all options.

Tip 6: Have equal pay

Barring any difference in experience or any other qualifications, male and females should be paid identical salary for the same position.

Tip 7: Start from the top

Don't underestimate the impact senior individuals can have on the wider organization. Promoting equality has to be a priority throughout the whole organization, including senior management.

Appoint senior diversity champions to get involved in activities such as attending gay pride rallies, sponsoring network groups and promoting diversity awards.

Tip 8: Form a diversity committee

The group should be diverse in nature and be made up of volunteers. The committee should meet regularly to discuss ideas to increase diversity and promote equitable hiring in your organization.

Tip 9: Provide equal opportunities

If you want your support for equality and diversity to be taken seriously, you have to back it up with actions. This means providing equal opportunities for anyone who’s qualified regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Tip 10: Communicate

Communicate with the rest of the organization to raise awareness about how the organization is promoting diversity and striving for equality in the workplace.

For more information, contact Dana Henry, Director, Organizational Development & Learning Soutions at, (617) 287-4068.

The Organizational Development & Learning Solutions group of UMass Donahue Institute advances organizational learning and productivity by bringing together needed expertise to work collaboratively with our clients to build solutions. We apply our expertise in the corporate and public sectors; consulting to community organizations, government offices and global corporations. Using technology as a tool for delivering interactive instruction, ongoing collaboration, and insightful conversation we’re able to engage with clients and partners in a way that inspires learning and provides creative and customized solutions.

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