Promoting workplace diversity, equity and inclusion

June is Pride Month 2024. With that in mind, this article discusses the importance of promoting workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.

A workplace culture that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion will encourage employee retention, attract great candidates and increase productivity and enhance an employer’s reputation.

Research by Culture Shift in February 2021 found that almost half of the UK’s legal workforce think that diversity should be more of a priority in the workplace, and 52% reported that their employer could do more when it comes to diversity.

In the workplace, diversity is focused on the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, being age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. Equity seeks to provide equality of opportunity by recognising that additional resources and opportunities may need to be allocated to disadvantaged or under-represented groups.

It is also beneficial to have an inclusive workplace culture, where all staff have a sense of belonging and feel their differences are respected and they can be their whole selves at work.

How to promote workplace diversity, equity and inclusion

Below are just some of the things employers may want to do to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace:

  • Treat all workers with dignity and respect. Ensure this principle is embedded into workplace culture to ensure workers treat each other with dignity and respect.
  • Ensure that senior managers visibly promote diversity, equity and inclusion and communicate a zero-tolerance to discrimination in the workplace.
  • Encourage staff to use internal and external networks aimed at supporting those with particular protected characteristics. For example, supporting initiatives such as Pride Month will help with this.
  • Ensure there is visible representation from a diverse range of society within your workplace, particularly in senior management, so as to encourage employees that there are progression opportunities for those from all walks of life.
  • Consider having workplace equality champions within the workplace who advocate for and monitor equality issues and offer support to employees who have suffered discrimination.
  • When advertising for roles, consider having a statement at the end of the advert highlighting the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion principles, as this will likely attract a wider range of candidates.
  • Having effective equality and anti-harassment policies in place and ensuring indirect discrimination is avoided in any current policies and procedures. Employers should also train their managers and staff on these policies and procedures.
  • Carry out risk assessments to consider any particular inequality, discrimination or harassment risks associated with the nature of the business and take additional steps to minimise these risks.

Lastly, employers should encourage employees to openly discuss any particular needs or requirements they have relating to a protected characteristic. Promoting a culture of openness and providing assurances that information will be kept confidential unless the employee consents to its disclosure may encourage employees to disclose relevant information. Confirming in written communications and policies that retaliation, in the form of detriment or victimisation, against employees who report concerns in good faith is not permitted can also promote a culture of speaking up.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any other aspect of employment law at 02920 345 511 or