March 1st is Zero Discrimination Day, raising awareness of the inequalities that prevent people from living a full and productive life. So how are we fairing in today’s world of work and how can managers ensure zero discrimination is not just a tick box exercise?
There is no doubt that businesses have felt the pressure with the increasing voice of Black Lives Matter, the exposure of continued antisemitism and the movement to eradicate gender inequality in the workplace. The pandemic has thrown a concerning spotlight on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, not only on health inequalities but also how they may be affected financially from the crisis. A recent survey revealed that over half of UK employees have either been subjected to or witnessed discrimination. But has this been enough of a wake-up call for leaders and managers?
With a focus this year on zero discrimination against women, we are delighted that Pinsent Masons’ Helen Corden will be joining the Health and Wellbeing at Work line up to look at the current landscape in relation to gender and the impending ethnicity pay gap reporting and how employers can address these. Director of Business Services & HSW at Tideway, Steve Hails, shares his company’s pioneering approach to understanding and addressing the gender-based barriers to employment on a large infrastructure project. Tackling the challenges, opportunities and ultimate successes, he will give some practical examples of leadership commitment, innovative solutions, employee engagement as well as the social return on investment.
Renowned Business Psychologist Binna Kandola OBE believes that there is a real connection between discrimination and employee wellbeing. That impact can be short as well as long term and he will be sharing some strategies to ensure organisations bring unconscious or benevolent behaviour into our consciousness and how to make sustainable changes at both individual and systemic level to not only achieve zero discrimination but to improve workforce wellbeing.
To achieve true parity in the workplace, we need to avoid the way we focus on ticking boxes and meeting diversity and inclusion quotas, as if it was all about just pulling a product off the shelf. Surely it is more about readdressing the values and ethics that shape a company and ensuring that these resonate throughout the entire organisation. If we are to confront inequalities, we need to feel that we can challenge people’s attitudes, from the top down, in an open and honest way and without reproach. Get the culture and values right, and ensure that your diversity and inclusion strategies are robust enough to reflect the new world of work, then you are creating a real opportunity to make a sustainable impact on society, increase productivity and improve employee wellbeing.
Written by Lauren Sterling,
Health and Wellbeing at Work