HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Workplace Equity

What is equity, why is it important, and how can you promote it within the workplace? Continue reading to find out the answers to these questions and more.

What Is Workplace Equity?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines workplace equity as the fair treatment in access, opportunity and advancement for all individuals. This treatment must occur regardless of an employee's age, ethnicity, gender, or disability. Equity in an organization is very important for both recruitment and retention. An organization high in equity leads to an atmosphere where employees are treated and rewarded fairly according to their skills, performance, and how well they meet the requirements of the job. Other areas of equity include pay, learning and development, and promotion and growth. Equity also plays an important role when it comes to diversity and inclusion, which can result in greater organizational outcomes.

Equity vs Equality

Even though both equity and equality deal with how people are treated, there are several differences that set them apart which can lead to very different outcomes. Equality happens when the same resources and opportunities are provided to distinct groups. Equity acknowledges that due to the unique circumstances of each individual, each must be provided relative opportunities and resources in order to obtain an equal outcome.

Why Is Workplace Equity Important?

Equity is important because it allows everyone to be treated justly according to their circumstances. Even though the top candidate is the one who should be selected for a job, everyone should still be given the same opportunities to grow within their role and even advance. Workplace equity sets the stage for innovation, lower turnover, and increased employee engagement.
  • Increased innovation. Studies show that workplaces that focus on increasing the diversity of their leadership teams through equity result in greater innovation and increased financial performance. When team members bring unique experiences to the table rather than viewpoints that are the same as others, they are able to tackle situations through a different lens.
  • Lower turnover. When companies focus on providing fairness in the workplace relative to the unique circumstances of individuals, they are able to attract a larger pool of talent due to having a strong employer brand. Through continually promoting equity in the workplace, more talent can be retained, resulting in lower turnover.
  • Engagement. Providing equitable opportunities and resources to employees leads to greater engagement. Your workforce will understand how they fit into your organization's mission statement. You’ll be able to increase their engagement by helping them connect the work they do to what they care about most.

Examples of Workplace Equity

There are many examples of equity in the workplace. Let's look at three common ones.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act was created to give those with disabilities in everyday activities access to the same opportunities as others. This federal law protects them from harassment and discrimination. For example, an employer cannot refuse opportunities to hire, promote, or train an employee simply because they have a disability. The ADA has improved the lives of many workers while ensuring equitable access to resources and services.

Parental Leave

More and more companies are offering paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers to care for their new infants. This is a great way for companies to support the bonding that occurs between parents and their children. Newborns require a lot of work, and offering paid parental leave to both genders can really level the playing field.

Skills-Based Hiring

Rather than recruit for specific candidates who have earned a certain college degree, companies are recruiting for those who already possess certain cognitive or professional skills. This creates equity in the recruiting process because candidates who may not have had the funds to pursue a college education are given an opportunity based on the skills that they possess.

How to Promote Equity In the Workplace

There are several ways you can assist your company in promoting equity. You can conduct a SWOT analysis, make sure you communicate and keep everyone on the same page, and help your recruiters avoid unconscious bias.

Step 1: Conduct a SWOT Analysis

What are your current company Strengths when it comes to equity? What about areas of Weakness, Opportunities and Threats? By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can begin to analyze your equity practices and create a strategy that can help your workforce understand the importance of it, along with a solid comprehension of what it will take to reach the next level.

Step 2: Communication

Getting leadership on board and sharing your progress plays an important role in the sustainability of creating and maintaining an equitable workforce. It’s important to develop a method of communicating your objectives and sharing updates with everyone in order to keep everyone accountable. Ongoing communication demonstrates your commitment to creating an equitable workplace, which can result in increased buy-in as well.

Step 3: Decrease Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias can be harmful when it comes to talent acquisition because it affects recruiters' or hiring managers' perceptions of candidates without their awareness. It happens when an unfair assumption is made about a candidate based on the way they behave or look. It’s important to recognize when unconscious bias is happening because it can prevent a company from obtaining an equitable workplace. Your recruiters can avoid unconscious bias by being aware of the assumptions they hold that could lead to unconscious bias, acknowledging whether or not there is a problem, and then taking action. One example is through reviewing job descriptions to be certain that they aren’t written in favor or against certain groups or individuals.
James Barrett

James Barrett

James has worked in the HR field going on 5+ years and has held various positions of leadership. His areas of expertise are in benefits, recruiting, onboarding, HR analytics, engagement, employee relations, and workforce development. He has earned a masters degree in HR, along with a nationally recognized SHRM-SCP certification.
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Frequently asked questions
Other Related Terms
Belonging in the Workplace
DEI Training
Employment Discrimination
Workplace Inclusion
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