Doing more to combat racism and inequality in the 2020 workplace – let’s open up the conversation.
Hot on the heels of the Gender Pay Gap requirements is the plan to introduce Ethnicity Pay Reporting. This new reporting is being considered by Government following recommendations made by Baroness McGregor-Smith’s ‘Race in the workplace’ review. We don’t yet know the specifics for this proposed legislation, but it is likely to become a requirement in the next couple of years. Starting this process early could identify any potential pay anomalies and give organisations the chance to improve their ethnicity pay gap before mandatory reporting begins.
In our strive for nurturing equality, it is important to understand the gap between where we are now and where we need to be. So how do you start those important conversations in the workplace? Here are some pointers to guide you in the right direction.
- Give a voice – and really listen. How could an employee let you know that they are feeling like they are being treated differently or unfairly? Encourage discussion and make sure that employees know where to go for a confidential chat if they are not happy. Unhappy employees will likely tell their family, friends and social media– make sure they know they can tell you too.
- Have self-awareness – be aware of your own unconscious bias. We all have learned stereotypes that affect our behaviour. Being aware of our own unconscious bias is a crucial step in becoming more aware of how this might impact our decision making in day to day life, and particularly when making important decisions at work, such as who to recruit, training and development opportunities and promotions.
- Be a role model – let your team see that you are encouraging ideas from everyone, learn how to encourage those who are not normally heard, support all those who need it with appropriate encouragement and attention.
- Train to gain – look beyond the Equality Act 2010 and to the existing workforce. We know we shouldn’t discriminate, but what does that mean? Having policies in place and the regular diversity and inclusion training sessions is all well and good, but what exactly is being gained? Put some extra resource into identifying real concerns and areas for improvement and provide training that specifically addresses them. Make it interactive, make it relevant. Only with this extra attention will employees gain useful, meaningful information to make them really think about the messages you are delivering.