Promoting equity is different from promoting equality at the workplace, although equality is undoubtedly a stepping stone to equity. A previous post examined the nuances between equity and equality and what equity looks like in the workplace. To recap, in the words of Caroline Belden, “Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those who need it.”
As a manager or a leader, are you on the path to inculcating principles of equity in your team or organization? Here are three broad strokes to get started – learn about it, implement it, and measure it.
- Learn about it
To start with, managers and leaders must educate themselves on the concept of equity through scientific studies and industry resources. With this solid foundation, they can then look inward at their own internal data to assess their current stance on equity. For instance, do they have disabled workers? Is pay equitable? What is the cultural mix within the workforce? Managers can find such information within pools of recruitment, training, and employee engagement data.
- Choose your techniques to implement it
Leaders have many ways to implement equitable practices within their organizations.
- Wage equality. Women tend to receive lower salaries, as do certain racial groups. Bridging the wage gap is one way to create equitable pay. Another is for all employees to start talking about salaries and promoting honest communication about wage data.
- Training and awareness. Diversity training and educating the workforce promotes awareness at all levels about the nature of equity, which encourages active participation and inclusion.
- Reimagine hiring. Encourage skills-based recruitment to equalize the hiring potential of candidates. Try offline as well as online platforms to reach a wider audience. Look for candidates that reflect the company’s/team’s values, have the right attitude, and bring a different perspective to the team.
- Use onboarding as a tool. Instead of one-week onboarding programs, dedicate a longer period, say a month to six, to support new recruits and truly understand their barriers at the workplace. Provide mentors, offer opportunities, and collaborate on their career journeys so they are primed for success while meeting the team’s/organization’s goals.
- Find champions. As with any program, a champion or an advocate does wonders at attracting and retaining interest. Leaders themselves can make open commitments to equity. They can construct employee resource groups (ERGs) to foster employee communities that work together to ideate and recommend actions that create equitable workplaces.
- Measure it as a program
Finally, managers should set targets and become accountable for progress on whichever technique they want to implement. Like any other program, this involves identifying metrics (such as net promoter scores or satisfaction surveys). Measuring these and sharing progress augurs well with the larger team/organization, motivating others to adopt similar practices.
Everyone deserves the right to fair opportunity in the workplace. Managers who champion and foster equitable workspaces reap rewards of higher morale, retention, growth, and success within their teams.