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Equity in the workplace: a guide for businesses

By Sarah Naylor

Published In: Business Services

Equity in the workplace is certainly a hot topic of discussion right now. Businesses cannot ignore the importance of fostering an equitable work environment. Many businesses are yet to fully understand equity in the workplace, yet it is an extension of equality, diversity and inclusion – which businesses now understand and strive for.

Photo of a happy group of young business people

Equity in the workplace is not just a new buzzword, but a critical component of a thriving, inclusive, and successful business. But what exactly does equity mean, and how can businesses strive to achieve it?

What is equity in the workplace?

Equity in the workplace refers to the fair treatment of all employees, considering their individual needs and circumstances. It involves creating an environment where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their background, identity, or personal characteristics. Unlike equality, which focuses on providing the same resources or opportunities to everyone, equity recognises that different people may need different support to reach similar outcomes. My favourite example of equity in the workplace requires me to quote from a colleague and friend of mine Layla Young, HR Director at the Genuit Group who at a recent Women in Business conference described equity in the workplace as equality is giving everyone a pair of shoes, equity is giving everyone a pair of shoes that fit ”.

 The importance of equity

 Employee Engagement and Retention: When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be engaged and remain loyal to the company

Diverse Perspectives: A diverse workforce brings a variety of perspectives, fostering innovation and better decision-making

Improved Reputation: Companies known for their equitable practices attract top talent and are viewed positively by customers and partners

Legal Compliance: Adhering to equity principles helps ensure compliance with anti-discrimination laws and regulations

Top tips for striving for equity in the workplace

 Conduct an equity audit

  • Begin by assessing your current policies, practices, and culture. Identify any barriers that might prevent certain groups from thriving
  • Collect data on workforce demographics, pay equity, promotion rates, and employee satisfaction to understand where disparities exist

Develop inclusive policies

  • Review and update your company policies to ensure they promote equity. This includes anti-discrimination policies, flexible working arrangements, and clear procedures for addressing grievances
  • Ensure your policies are communicated effectively to all employees and are accessible

Provide training and education

  • Offer regular training sessions on unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership
  • Educate employees and management about the importance of equity and how they can contribute to an inclusive environment

Implement fair recruitment practices

  • Use diverse hiring panels and standardize interview questions to minimize bias
  • Implement blind recruitment processes where possible, removing identifiable information from applications

Promote pay equity

  • Conduct regular pay audits to ensure equitable compensation across genders, races, and other demographic groups
  • Adjust salaries and benefits as necessary to address any disparities

Support career development

  • Provide mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the career growth of underrepresented groups
  • Offer training and development opportunities tailored to the needs of diverse employees

Foster an inclusive culture

  • Create employee resource groups (ERGs) to support diverse communities within your organisation
  • Celebrate diversity through events, awareness campaigns, and inclusive holiday celebrations

Measure and report progress

  • Set measurable goals for improving equity in your workplace and track progress regularly
  • Report on your equity initiatives and achievements to employees, stakeholders, and the public

How we can help

We recognise that not all businesses necessarily have the structure and personnel to easily implement all of the tips set out above. This is where we can step in to provide support and guidance.

Achieving equity in the workplace is a continuous journey that requires commitment, effort, and a willingness to adapt. By understanding the unique needs of your employees and implementing targeted strategies, your business can create a more inclusive and equitable environment. Not only will this benefit your employees, but it will also drive your company's success and reputation in the long run.

We are here to assist businesses in navigating the legal aspects of equity and implementing best practices. This will help you to create workplaces where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

If you have any questions or need further guidance on achieving equity in your workplace, feel free to contact or call 01302 320621.



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Sarah has over 18 years’ experience in the legal sector. She is a Director and Solicitor as well as the Head of our Commercial and Disputes team

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