Many organisations profess to embrace equality and diversity yet often do not appreciate the seriousness of such a claim. On closer examination, you will often find words such as ‘valuing each other’, ‘fairness’ and ‘respect’ embedded in their mission and value statement. You will also find that HR departments have been proactive in writing the associated policies. However, what will be difficult to find is evidence of the effective implementation of equality and diversity across the organisation.
Most managers will be able to quote the nine protected characteristics which are enshrined in law:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
Nevertheless, the ability to quote what the law prescribes as the expected minimum standard is not evidence that equality and diversity is being embraced. Real evidence starts with the behavioural norms of the CEO and Executive Board.
Is equality and diversity just another tick box or window dressing for the annual report, or is quality time given to hard questions such as:
How are we really doing?
What are staff members really saying about how they are being treated?
What does equal opportunity really look like in our organisation?
The answers are often unpalatable.