Equality And Diversity – Why Is It Important In The Work Place?

In business, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the numbers, and forget about all of the things that go together to help make the numbers the way they are. If you have a workforce that enjoys working for you, and is happy to be in the working environment, the numbers are likely to make for much better reading, as happy employees are usually more motivated, which results in improved productivity levels.

Ensuring that your business recognises and promotes equality and diversity, helps to improve the satisfaction levels of employees, thereby making them happier, and helping the productivity of the business.  So, what do the terms equality and diversity actually mean?

The meaning of equality

Equality is all about recognising, and promoting, the fact that each person has a right to be different. Everyone is entitled to have their own beliefs, and to not be discriminated against, on grounds such as age, sex, race and sexual orientation. In New Zealand law, the Human Rights Act exists to help protect individuals from acts such as harassment and victimisation. It also defines employer responsibilities, when it comes to the human rights of employees.

The meaning of diversity

Diversity is one step further on from equality. It’s about actively creating a culture that embraces the differences between people. These differences can be used to create an improved environment for everyone.

What are the benefits to the business and the employees?

The most obvious benefit of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace is that it becomes a more supportive and vibrant place to work. This brings about many potential benefits for the business:

  • Improved staff retention rates.
  • Improved ability to recruit top class employees.
  • Higher productivity levels due to improved staff motivation.
  • Higher turnover.

Employees also benefit. They get:

  • A job they enjoy going to.
  • Recognition of their individuality.
  • An open and inclusive atmosphere to work in.

When you consider all of these benefits, you can see why every business should be embracing equality and diversity, and placing them high in its business planning objectives.

The legal aspect of diversity and equality

Aside from the obvious benefits of promoting equality and diversity in the workplace, there is also the legal aspect to consider. The Human Rights Commission helps to determine whether an individual is being discriminated against. If discrimination is present, legal action can be taken. This can be costly in itself, and can also be very damaging to the reputation of a business or organisation. You can get employment law advice for employers , to help you in this sort of situation. You should also help to create a culture that removes the potential for this type of issue.

You can see that it pays any business to develop a culture that supports and promotes equality and diversity. Doing so helps to create a more sought after place to work, as well as helping to protect against potentially damaging incidents.