This article is written by Sharma Amitkumar Rampratap who is pursuing a Diploma in Labour, Employment, and Industrial Laws (including POSH) for HR Managers from LawSikho.
In modern work, the role of human resources (HR) is now, more than ever, complex and varied. From ensuring that the organization adheres to applicable law to developing strategies to ensure that employees are engaged and competent, those in HR have a wide range of responsibilities. However, it is important that the HR function component includes a strategy for diversity and inclusion (D&I). Diversity in the modern workplace, as in the wider community, is a reality. Promoting a diverse workplace where employees feel included and accepted by the best staff strategy. Also, it creates a good business idea as clients/customers, naturally, expect to face an organization that reflects the wider community. Ensuring that your organization is ready for this should be a priority for HR.
At the very least, organizations should consider incorporating a policy into D&I. Such a policy could improve ethics/productivity, work in a variety of ways, ensure that all employees feel welcome and included, improve business reputation, and increase recruitment capacity. Many employees, especially those from culturally disadvantaged backgrounds, may feel more secure and involved. This can only lead to better productivity. D&I policy does not have to be too long. In addition, since such a policy is not legally binding, no mandatory regulations should be imposed (in contrast, for example, harassment in the workplace). However, there are a few ideas to include:
- Commitment to creating and maintaining diverse and inclusive workplaces.
- The stage at which the policy applies to all aspects of work and in dealing with clients.
- The staff consultation process to get feedback on D&I programs.
- A statement that managers will be trained to be equipped to understand the individual needs of employees.
- A statement that the applicable laws of human rights, equality, and privacy will be respected.
- Complaints procedure (which may refer to harassment or discrimination in the workplace).
A statement that any collection of personal information will be kept confidential unless disclosed by law. At this point, some authorities require organizations to report/publish individual ‘formation’ of employees. For example, the Government of Ontario has been demanding that employers report certain gender statistics to the State under the proposed payroll policy. This can be referred to in policy. If the organization is compliant, any collective bargaining agreements should be considered. D&I policy is not required by law. However, judicial organizations such as the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal are increasingly seeking these policies as evidence that the organization creates an acceptable, respectful and non-discriminatory work environment.
Diversity vs Inclusion
To better understand diversity and inclusion, consider this analogy: a jigsaw puzzle consists of hundreds of unique pieces, of different colors and sizes. ‘Diversity can mean a variety of attributes and features of each episode, as does represent individual diversity. ‘Inclusion,’ on the other hand, is related to a completed puzzle, where each piece comes together for the benefit of the group. It is about building a work culture that respects and accepts differences. Therefore, together, diversity and inclusion strive to embrace individual diversity in an environment that values and respects them for their skills, abilities, and abilities for the benefit of the group – that is to shake a piece within the puzzle.
Value for business
There is no doubt diversity is good for business. Diversity in the workplace has confirmed its importance in innovation, innovation, and problem-solving. Cultural and gender differences may help to introduce new ideas and new perspectives. In fact, research has shown that groups with the opposite sex are smarter and smarter than those without. Composing leads to better results leads to better company performance. In the construction industry, in particular, well-performing teams can achieve better project outcomes. The positive effects of diversity can be seen in terms of productivity, quality, income, market share, absenteeism rates, staff retention, and safety.
The gender gap
In all industries, construction is one of Canada’s largest employment opportunities in the public and private sectors, accounting for nearly 1.5 million jobs. However, apart from this important measure, it is a male-dominated industry. In fact, with only 12% employment for women, statistics show that construction uses the lowest proportion of women to men in all industries – or much lower than other traditionally controlled industries such as mining, oil, and gas. Moreover, the employment of women in construction has not increased in recent years. In fact, there is a downward spiral. In 2017, gender research helped to show that where workers are dominated by men, the workplace culture is dominated by men, too. It is for this reason that gender inequality in the workplace can be a barrier to the employment of women.
Policies & actions
Organizations and institutions have studied issues relating to the employment and retention of,
(a) women in industries where the workplace is dominated by men and
(b) people from diverse backgrounds.
Over the past decade, many of them have included policies that reflect new commitments to increase diversity and improve employment equity. Some followed the training sessions and explained what these policies meant. While these are good initial steps, however, the amount will only appear by moving over the lips. In that sense, diversity is as useless as a business plan other than finding out how to make the workplace more involved. Hiring more women can lead to gender inequality, for example, but without creating an environment where those women feel respected and valued and have the same opportunities as their male partners, effective employment efforts will not solve gender inequality. It is only in the creation of an inclusive work environment that the many benefits of diversity will be enjoyed, both by individuals and organizations, including reduced profits, improved collaboration and loyalty, stronger team engagement, conflict resolution, and increased employee satisfaction.
That’s why organizations like Engineers Canada focus not only on hiring but also on retaining women in the workplace. Maintenance depends on the installation. And compared to diversity, inclusion – which may require a real change in business culture – is the hardest part. People feel a strong need to be part of an organization, but inclusion seems difficult for many businesses to achieve. Research shows that certain factors work against it in many cases, including people’s tendency to tend to other people like them, the presence of subtle but outspoken bias, the effort of those who are different is much more than agreeing to a strategy to deal with the change between those within the majority.
Methods of improvement
There is a wealth of literature suggesting how organizations can create and enhance workplace inclusivity, including training employees about bias, equity, respect, and other elements of teamwork and inviting them to reflect on their own biases and consider what they could do to make their work environment more inclusive. Individuals at every level of an organization can make a significant impact in the creation of an inclusive environment. And indeed, they must all step up. Women and members of minority groups should not be expected to lead the charge. All business leaders must spearhead efforts through promoting diversity, training, setting targets, and creating and implementing policies that improve the representation of diverse individuals in leadership positions.
It is key for those in leadership roles to ensure diversity and inclusion become firmly entrenched in the organization’s systems and processes. Creating a culture of inclusion is not unlike creating a culture of safety, which has already become embedded in most workplace structures. To get there, leaders will need to place both diversity and inclusion at the top of their list of priorities, talk about their importance, speak about the issues, seek out and encourage differences, notice when they are present, question when they are absent, actively drive them forward and make everyone accountable.
Reduce legal risk
Finally, there are legitimate reasons to focus on diversity and integration in the workplace. Provincial and provincial human rights laws, applicable to employers, prohibit discrimination in the workplace for a number of reasons, including age, disability, gender, race, religion, and employment. This ban extends to discrimination in the employment and retention of workers. A diverse and inclusive workplace reduces the risk of costly lawsuits for violating these rules.
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