Why You Need to Invest in Workplace Equity


June 15, 2021  |  Laraine McKinnon


Organizations benefit when employees have strong professional relationships, teams are productive and collaborative, co-workers share healthy impactful feedback, and diverse groups create new ideas and innovations. As a basic element of fairness, people of different races, ages, genders, sexual orientation, cognitive and physical abilities should be enabled to do their best work and be recognized for it.

It’s All in the Data

As people witnessed the tragic murder of George Floyd and the racial justice movement resurged, companies dutifully posted statements in support of Black Lives Matter on their websites. But most organizations didn’t have the tools and language to support their Black employees. More worrisome, co-workers lacked the basic foundational understanding of just how different life experiences are—and how much their Black co-workers are impacted by systemic racism, discrimination, and bias. (In Emtrain’s Black Lives Matter microlesson, 43.3% of employees report they have never been stopped by law enforcement for no apparent reason, but another 43% say it has happened to them occasionally—and 13.6% report they are stopped frequently. Just getting to work is fraught for some of us.) Inclusion requires awareness and empathy and behavior change.

Corporate Social Responsibility

From a governance perspective, initiatives around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are a key component of Corporate Social Responsibility. Corporate Social Responsibility is a type of self-regulating business model to help organizations be more socially accountable and positively contribute to society. Measures around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) often include diversifying the Board of Directors, managing diversity within senior leadership and across succession planning, as well as the broader talent pipeline. It may also involve measuring and monitoring pay equity, benefits, and other forms of compensation.

It Impacts Employee Relations and Claims

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends equal employment opportunity training, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance requires it of federal contractors. And a recent release from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of new human capital disclosure rules will cause companies to increase their focus on reviewing, measuring, and reporting on diversity and inclusion across talent acquisition, employee experience and engagement, and retention: key elements of long-term value.

Diversity and inclusion also directly impacts employee relations and EEO claims within an organization. The more “blind spots” we have as individuals, the more conflict we trigger with people who feel disrespected and undervalued. Inevitably, the conflict that flows from blindspots shows up in our organizations as claims of harassment, bias, and discrimination.

“Do the Right Thing”

There’s nothing more important in 2021 in human capital management than operationalizing equity throughout the employee experience. Just like organizations saw a huge spike in harassment claims due to #MeToo, organizations are starting to see a spike in EEO claims as employees push for more equity and inclusion. So in addition to the “do the right thing” imperative, executives must drive diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging as a strategic business imperative.

Emtrain has online training courses for Equal Employment Opportunity, Unconscious Bias, and Diversity & Inclusion to help improve workplace equity. Through our data analytics, we help clients gather actionable insights to help create meaningful and measurable progress towards greater equity.

 


diversity and inclusion
Laraine McKinnon
Talent and Culture Strategist Women's Advocate Former Managing Director at BlackRock
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