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Equality and Diversity: Benefits in the Workplace Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 24th, 2020

Introduction

Many researchers highlight the importance of equality and diversity in the workplace (Shakhray 2009; Macdonald 2004). However, both concepts are more than a buzzword; they determine whether organisations would enjoy the benefits of creative thinking, or not (Macdonald 2004). It is essential to understand the importance of diversity and equality in the workplace because the world is becoming more diverse and many organisations are learning to manage employees from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds (Kumra and Manfredi 2012). Multinational organisations are championing this trend because they do business globally (Shakhray 2009). Some countries also require registered companies to uphold such principles and practices.

For example, the UK law prohibits employers from discriminating on their employees. Such provisions are included in the Equality Act, Race relations Act, Sexual discrimination Act, Disability Discrimination Act, and the Human Rights Act (TJL 2014). The US and other countries also have similar legislations. They outline the minimum standards required of organisations to embrace equality and diversity in the workplace. From this background, this paper investigates the benefits of equality and diversity in the workplace by understanding how it benefits organisations, employers, and employees alike.

Benefits to Employers

The confidence to do the work

Albeit indirectly, equality and diversity programs in the workplace are important to employees because they help to reassure them that they would not experience discrimination in the workplace (TJL 2014). This benefit gives them an opportunity to look forward to career progression and fair consideration when they seek new placements in an organisation. This provision also gives them confidence that their aptitude would be the main consideration when their employers consider them for new positions.

Provision of Right Tools

Equality and diversity programs are beneficial to employees because they allow them to get the right tools needed to complete their jobs. For example, such programs allow employees to have flexible working hours, thereby increasing employee efficiency (TJL 2014). For disabled employees, an equality and diversity program would provide them with facilities to conduct their duties as well.

Increased Morale

Kumra and Manfredi (2012) say that equality and diversity boost employee morale because workers are bound to be motivated when they know there are no barriers in an organisation. Kumra and Manfredi (2012) also explain the underpinnings of this advantage by saying that most organisations that adopt the principles of equality and diversity often help their employees to understand that their value to the organisation depends on their contributions. This fact (alone) motivates employees to work better and harder. Comparatively, organisations that do not promote fairness, or condone discriminatory practices, are likely to demoralise their employees in this regard (TJL 2014).

Benefits to Employers

Diverse Employee Pool

Kumra and Manfredi (2012) say the benefits of equality and diversity programs in an organisation are equal for employers and employees alike. Employers stand to benefit from such programs by having a creative and dynamic employee pool. Granted, having a diverse workforce is beneficial to employers because they could provide them with different perspectives regarding how to manage different organisational issues (TJL 2014).

Improved Communication

Shakhray (2009) says diversity improves communication in the workplace because employees from diverse ethnic and social backgrounds respect one another. In such circumstances, employers would have created a more pleasant working environment for their workers. This advantage promotes teamwork in the organisation and improves employee cohesiveness. Macdonald (2004) adds that cohesive employees are productive employees. This advantage is beneficial to employers because it would help them to reap the benefits of having a cohesive workforce.

Reduced Risks of Lawsuits

The ACAS (2014) says that most employers who are hesitant to adopt equality and diversity in the workplace are likely to suffer damages from lawsuits, based on discrimination and similar exclusionary practices in an organisation. Indeed, the most vulnerable employer groups are those that promote discriminatory practices, based on sexual, gender, and religious practices (or any other basis of discrimination). The ACAS (2014) adds that most employers who cannot justify their human resource decisions, or act arbitrarily without heeding to modern recruitment, hiring, or promotion practices, are bound to be similarly vulnerable to lawsuits. Indeed, the victims of such discriminatory practices are bound to make a claim against such employers. Embracing diversity and equality in the workplace is one line of protection for employers against such lawsuits. Therefore, employers are bound to benefit from such a protection.

Benefits to Organisations

Positive Image

Equality and diversity programs have diverse benefits. TJL (2014) says the greatest benefit to an organisation is the portrayal of a positive image. Indeed, companies that are perceived to be fair and diverse have a more positive image compared to companies that are authoritarian, or do not condone diversity in the workplace (Shakhray 2009). In fact, many organisations prefer to project an image that associates with the principles of equality and diversity in the workplace. Particularly, this is true for organisations that operate in democratic countries. Companies that adopt equality and diversity also foster communication and cohesiveness in the workplace. Concisely, Kumra and Manfredi (2012) say such companies are often preoccupied with fostering fairness, dignity, and respect for their employees, employers and other stakeholders in the company.

Increased Consumer Market Share

Johnson (2014) says that most organisations, which promote equality and diversity, are likely to reap the benefits of having an expansive consumer market because research shows that many consumers often prefer to do business with companies that promote fairness and equality. This view supports the assertions of Johnson (2014) who says companies that promote the “social good” and refrain from promoting their profit-making objectives are likely to “win the hearts” of many consumers. Companies that have adopted corporate social responsibility (CSR) have often benefitted from such findings (Shakhray 2009). They equally benefit from capturing a greater market share than their competitors (who are mainly preoccupied with achieving their profit-making objectives). Therefore, organisations that promote equality and diversity are bound to benefit from the same advantages.

Reduced Employee Turnover

Organisations that promote fairness and equality are likely to benefit from low employee turnover (Macdonald 2004). This benefit emerges from the advantages highlighted in this paper concerning how employees are likely to benefit from equality and diversity in the workplace. Already, this paper has shown that most employers who adopt the above principles in the workplace are likely to have motivated employees. Researchers have reported a direct correlation between motivated employees and low employee turnover (Macdonald 2004; Shakhray 2009). Therefore, by having motivated employees, companies are likely to benefit from low employee turnover.

Foster Innovation

The correlation between innovative companies and diversity resonates with the ideas of Malcolm Forbes (a publisher), who says, “Diversity is the art of thinking independently together” (ACAS 2014, p. 1). In line with this assertion, Forbes cautions organisations from restricting employee innovation and organisational growth by promoting one way of thinking (ACAS 2014). To overcome this challenge, he says, “Having a diverse workforce with people from different racial, educational and social backgrounds and a diverse age range opens a wealth of possibilities and helps to encourage creativity and foster innovation” (ACAS 2014, p. 1). This assertion shows that diversity fosters innovation.

Competitive Advantage

Embracing diversity and equality helps organisations to develop a competitive advantage, as opposed to other organisations that do not embrace the same values and principles (Macdonald 2004). This advantage closely relates to the benefits that most organisations enjoy by capturing an expanding market share (by embracing diversity). Granted, by interacting with a diverse customer pool, organisations are able to better develop products and services that meet the needs and requirements of their customers (Macdonald 2004). By developing these competencies, organisations are bound to develop competitive advantages, as opposed to companies that do not have the experience of interacting with a diverse customer pool (ACAS 2014).

Summary

Equality and diversity are important concepts in human resource management. They affect all aspects of organisational performance. Albeit part of modern business practice, equality and diversity are essential to organisational success. This paper shows that these practices are beneficial to employers, employees, and organisations alike. Here, employees could benefit from increased morale, increased access to the right tools for work, and improved confidence. Most of these benefits underscore the advantages that most employers could enjoy from adopting the same principles. For example, increased employee morale and improved confidence helps to improve communication in the organisation. Similarly, increased employee morale helps to boost employee productivity. Organisations also benefit from an improved corporate image and increased innovation in the same regard. Overall, although this paper differentiates the advantages of equality and diversity across three corporate groups (employers, employees and organisations). Most of these benefits are interrelated. Therefore, embracing diversity is beneficial to employers, employees and organisations alike.

References

ACAS 2014, The benefits of having a diverse workforce. Web.

Johnson, R 2014, . Web.

Kumra, S & Manfredi, S 2012, Managing Equality and Diversity: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Macdonald, L 2004, Equality, Diversity and Discrimination: How to Comply with the Law, Promote Best Practice and Achieve a Diverse Workforce, CIPD Publishing, New York.

Shakhray, I 2009, Managing Diversity in the Workplace, Books on Demand, New York.

TJL 2014, Equality and Diversity. Web.

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