Equity and equality are often thought of as the same, but they are two different concepts. Equality is the state of being equal, while equity is the state of being fair. Equity means fairness and justice, while equality means sameness. For example, equality would mean everyone receiving the same salary for the same job. Equity would mean that everyone gets a salary based on their experience, skillset, and qualifications.
Equity is significant because it ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed. It levels the playing field so that everyone has a fair chance at achieving their goals. Equity is also vital in diversity and inclusion because it allows everyone to feel welcomed, valued, and respected. Equity is about creating an environment where each person can thrive and be their best selves.
5 Ways to Practice Equity in the Workplace
- Hire based on skills instead of credentials.
Equity in the workplace starts with the hiring process. Job descriptions should be accessible to all, highly relevant, and transparent to draw in a diverse pool of applicants. Everyone must be able to be aware of job openings. Posting them on the company website is not enough, as candidates may not have the correct vocabulary to discover these jobs. Instead, actively recruit diverse individuals by reaching out and connecting with diversity-focused groups.
Switch from credentials-based to skills-based job descriptions to help open up opportunities for those who may not have access to higher education. Hiring should be based on skills and not pedigree to create an even playing field for all applicants.
Be aware of personal biases when recruiting, such as going for whitewashed names and those whose backgrounds are similar to ours. Equity can only be achieved if there is diversity in the recruitment team or if recruiters are trained to fight discrimination. We can create a more equitable workplace by changing our hiring process.
- Give inclusive benefits and prioritize wage equity.
Offering transparent salaries and personalized benefits is another way to create equity in the workplace. Employees should be able to access information about how different positions are compensated. Equal wages mean everyone in the same role is paid equally, regardless of gender, race, or other factors.
However, equity goes beyond just equal pay. It also means that a diverse group of people, including minorities, can be offered high-paying salaries. Be careful of having a diverse company where only certain groups of people are afforded high-paying roles while others are relegated to lower-paying jobs.
Offering the same benefits, like spousal insurance and parental leaves to same-sex unions and traditional families, is another way to create equity in the workplace. Finally, consult with each employee about what benefits they need. Some individuals may require special access to certain facilities or be accommodated for more flexible work schedules to cope with specific disabilities. Through consultation, you can tailor your benefit packages to meet the needs of your diverse workforce.
Equality is about making benefits available for everyone. Equity is about giving specific things to individuals who need them. Providing equitable benefits ensures that all employees feel supported, regardless of their situation.
- Create equitable incentive programs.
Rewards and incentives help create a happy and motivated workforce. This communicates that the company values the employees’ hard work and dedication. However, cultivating diversity in the workplace involves understanding that not all employees are motivated by the same incentives. How can you create an equitable incentive program?
One way to start is by asking employees what motivates them and what kind of incentives they prefer. This will help you ensure that everyone feels their voices are heard and that the incentive program considers their individual needs. Sometimes, it may seem like additional work to craft equitable incentive programs, but in the long run, this will be seen as a better reward vs. enforcing generic or common-for-all incentives.
Additionally, be mindful that the usual incentives (such as drinking or formal dinners) may alienate some employees who don’t drink or prefer not to participate in activities that require a dress code. The organization must learn to respect that everyone has different personal preferences and can’t participate in certain activities. Cash bonuses are often preferred, as they are more flexible and can be used by everyone.
By considering these factors, you can create a genuinely equitable incentive program that will motivate all your employees to do their best work.
- Observe equitable holidays and be respectful of everyone’s different beliefs.
In today’s workplace, it’s essential to consider the many different holidays people celebrate. While Christmas is a typical holiday for many people worldwide, others may not celebrate it for religious or cultural reasons. When planning company events or celebrations, be sure to take into account the diverse range of holidays that employees may celebrate.
Allow employees to take personal time off for their own religious or cultural holidays. Provide alternative holiday celebrations that will be inclusive for all employees. Avoid forcing Christmas plans or creating very Christmas-centric celebrations, especially if you know that there are employees who don’t celebrate Christmas. Respect any employee’s decision not to participate in certain events such as a Pride March by not belittling or badgering them about why they chose to opt out.
Equity means respecting everyone’s beliefs despite how different they may be. Being equity-minded regarding holidays and celebrations can create a more respectful and enjoyable workplace for all.
- Prioritize having equitable representation in the leadership team.
Creating diversity in management should be every company’s priority if leaders want to achieve a truly inclusive workplace. This implies creating equitable opportunities for everyone to succeed and get promoted. Provide accessible and adequate training and continuing education programs to help those lacking the skills and knowledge to compete. Make sure to promote based on experience and abilities regardless of gender, race, or cultural background.
This also includes equitable access for all employees, such as wheel-chair accessible areas, closed-caption videos, and accommodations for employees with sensory sensitivities. Creating equitable access to resources, physical or educational, levels the playing field for all employees to grab opportunities. Remember that equity means creating a fair playing field for all, including giving special accommodations to those who’ve been provided less.
Once an organization has a diverse management team, you can genuinely tell there would be workplace equity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace will not just be aspirational goals. They will become a reality.
Achieve equity in the workplace today
Achieving equity in the workplace is a complex and multi-layered process, but creating an equitable work environment should be on every business owner’s mind. It’s not always easy to achieve, but it is worth the effort. By implementing these examples of equity in the workplace, we can make strides in creating a more inclusive and equitable work life for each person.
If you want to create a more equitable workplace but don’t know where to start, consult with us today. Let us help you get started on the right path so your employees can feel valued and appreciated.