Workplace equality is a big question on everyone’s minds today. Women make up only 2.6% of global Fortune 500 CEOs, and earn on average 19% less than men do.
We’re all always looking for ways that we can help improve the problem of workplace equality, in whatever small or large ways we can. Knowing exactly what we should do can often be a bit tricky, though, so today we’re going to look at some of the first and most fundamental things you can do to begin improving workplace equality.
Let’s get started.
Improving workplace equality starts at the hiring process. Women are as much as 30% less likely than men to be considered for a position in the hiring process, even if they have all the same experience and qualifications. Think about how you are encouraging applicants with your job description. Use inclusive pronouns and language generally, so as not to position particular vacancies adjacent to particular demographics.
It can even be helpful to remove names from CVs—make the application screening process truly blind.
- Encourage an open and safe environment
In the actual working day, then, it’s also really important to encourage and cultivate a safe environment for work where everyone feels comfortable talking about anything they need to talk about. It’s important that anyone feels they can come forward to report on incidents that occur at work. As many as 1 in 2 women experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and as many as 43% of men have been harassed in their career.
The way you prevent this is by having zero tolerance for it, and by making sure anyone who needs to feel comfortable sharing their experience.
Today, virtually all of the Fortune 500 companies provide some kind of diversity training. Studies have shown some mixed results in terms of their effectiveness, and the other issue is that a lot of companies haven’t taken the time to actually measure the impact of such training.
In any case, the right training is important groundwork for improving equality in the workplace. Simple awareness is one of the key parts of such training.
- Guest speakers
Perspectives are one of the best ways you can encourage a broader, more empathetic and more understanding workplace culture. Guest speakers from all different backgrounds are waiting for an invitation to talk at your workplace, to share their experiences and, in doing, to help your employees get a better understanding of the important of equality.
One person’s lived experience is often all that’s needed to change someone’s mind about an issue.
- Company culture
Finally, think about your company’s culture on a broad level. What are you values? What kind of behavior do you encourage and reward? This may have become something of a cliché in modern times, but the fact is that all companies have a culture. It’s determined by the people you hire, the way they behave, and the values they hold and promote.
Equality is about a culture which doesn’t exclude anyone, doesn’t promote anyone on the basis of inherent privilege, and is all about equal opportunities for everyone. On a moment-to-moment basis, this is how you can encourage a welcoming and equal workplace.
Workplace equality, generally speaking, still has a long way to come. But there are many very simple and easy changes you can implement to bring about a great culture of workplace equality. These sorts of changes can start small, but you can be loud and proud about the equality in your workplace, and that will begin to change the culture more broadly.