Finding a job you love means more than just a job title.
For many of us, it also means finding a sense of belonging and acceptance in the workplace. Something which should not only be actively encouraged by employers, but should also be apparent to any prospective employees looking for work. That’s where the equality and diversity policy comes in.
To help you start your search, here’s how to find out about a company’s diversity policy:
What is an equality and diversity policy?
A company’s equality and diversity policy is a written statement which outlines an organisation’s commitment to promoting inclusion within the workplace.
All businesses are encouraged to put together their own policy, to help protect the rights of their employees, and to let people looking for work know what their company stands for.
What’s covered by a company’s equality and diversity policy?
Although they differ from business to business, a company’s equality and diversity policy will generally cover details on employee rights, with links to specific pieces of legislation which safeguard their staff.
This means all employees will be aware of their commitment to equality, and know that they should not be discriminated against or treated differently based on their protected characteristics.
These protected characteristics include:
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
It’s also worth noting that the equality and diversity policy applies to employees, as much as it does to the employer. So both can be held accountable if these standards are not met.
What is equal opportunity?
An equality and diversity policy is also a great tool to demonstrate that a company is an equal opportunity employer.
Equal opportunity means that their staff aren’t treated differently for any reason – such as sex, religion, race or disability. UK employment law also requires all job descriptions to follow a strict set of guidelines around equality.
So no matter how you identify yourself, you’ll be treated the same as everyone else – whether you’re already employed, or you’re applying for a new role.
Why is equality and diversity in the workplace important?
Documenting your equality and diversity policy helps to avoid discrimination, bullying and harrasment in the workplace.
Not only will that lead to a more varied and culturally diverse workforce, it will also help to keep your staff happy – allowing them to feel valued for their contributions, regardless of their backgrounds.
Aside from an increase in staff morale (and, potentially, productivity as a result), a more diverse outlook can also pay huge dividends when it comes to recruitment. With a wider talent pool to choose from, companies can ensure they always find the right person for the role, without being held back by any stereotypes or unconscious bias’.
But beyond the benefits, for many people, it’s simply the right thing to do.
Where to find a company’s diversity policy when looking for work
A company’s external diversity policy is usually available online, on their website.
Many businesses include a link to it within their footer, to make it easier to find (although it can sometimes be grouped with other policies, or be included within their terms and conditions).
If you’re unable to find it easily, we recommend reaching out to the company directly, via their ‘Contact Us’ page (if they have one).
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is written for external users, and many companies have a slightly different diversity policy when it comes to their members of staff.
Does your company have a diversity policy?
If you’re looking for your own business’ policies on equality, diversity, and inclusion, this may be found in a different place to the one above – as most companies will have slightly more in-depth information for internal use.
That’s because they outline the standards by which all employees should be treated, with more specific information about what to do if you feel these policies have not been met.
Many companies cover equality and diversity as part of their onboarding process. However, you can always reach out to your HR team to find a link to yours.
Where can I get more advice on equality?
Acas have a lengthy section on equality and discrimination, providing relevant advice as well as working examples of different discriminatory scenarios in the workplace.
Similarly, Citizens Advice have a dedicated contact service, which allows you to speak to their agents directly and seek advice on your next steps. This is especially important if you feel you’ve been discriminated against, or need some guidance on what may.
Please note, the information outlined above is intended for general guidance purposes only, and is subject to change.
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