Inclusion and Diversity – The Importance of Going Above and Beyond

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Inclusion and Diversity – The Importance of Going Above and Beyond

With one million people gathering in London for the annual 2018 Pride and many other LGBTQ+ events throughout July and August it is an important time to focus on inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Although there are laws in place which help to further both inclusivity and diversity in work such as; covering age, disability, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation among others; these laws set minimum standards. An effective diversity and inclusion strategy go beyond legal compliance and seeks to add value to an organisation, contributing to an employee’s well-being and engagement. This strategy is not only healthy for employees but also for the business, it ensures a business maintains high standards and keeps employee moral high.
Though it is important to go above and beyond to ensure inclusivity and diversity in the workplace, the Equality Act makes it a legal requirement for business to be as inclusive and diverse as possible. The aim of the Equality Act is to improve equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. Organisations should have policies in place to achieve the outcomes of the Equality Act and just as importantly, to prevent any form of discrimination. Under the Act, it is unlawful to discriminate against people in work under nine areas termed in the legislation as protected characteristics, these areas are:

• age
• disability
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• race
• religion or belief
• sex
• sexual orientation.

A variety of guidance can be found on how to implement successful inclusion and diversity. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a range of guidance on all aspects of the Equality Act 2010, including a code of practice on employment. There are important objectives for business to achieve to make sure the standard of inclusivity and diversity goes above and beyond. The overall strategy of a company should firstly be to ensure policies of inclusivity and diversity have the full support of the managers and directors. It is then important to keep up to date with all forms of law and policies which can change frequently. With this change it is also important to hold regular reviews of your policy and to make sure it is up to the highest standard. It is important to manage diversity in the workplace by what you as a firm can manage. A small firm’s equality policy and any supporting action plan or activity should match its size and what it can realistically achieve. Furthermore, an equality policy for a small company should be more straight forward than that of a larger organisation.

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