Did you ever watch that series Madmen? It was great right? A glimpse into the glamorous world of 1960s New York. Where the importance of the advertising industry and its creative output was seen as something to aspire to and excel at. Where first-class cross-continental flights were always accompanied by a three-course meal and a bottle of champagne. Where the gin flowed freely (both in and outside the office), and so did the casual racism and overt misogyny. Where women were seen as secretaries and the men were REAL men. Where people of color were basically non-existent. Ahh. Great times. Right? NOPE.
Of course, the excellent AMC series painted a more nuanced picture than that, and the way it dealt with themes of sexism and racism have been widely celebrated and critiqued. But for anyone of modern sensibilities, there were plenty of cringe-worthy scenes, even audible gasps. Plenty of moments where we were reminded of a bygone era. Reminded of the question of whether things were really THAT bad. At times, it was difficult to watch.
But that was the 1960s. Things have changed. Or at least we like to tell ourselves they have.
Today, equality in the workplace is still a hotly debated topic. Some people will tell you that it’s already been achieved, whereas many others will say there’s still a long way to go. There are countless statistics relating to disparities in pay, in hiring diversity, to discriminatory practices, however, regardless of where we stand today, one thing is clear. Continuously striving for equal rights in the workplace is to the benefit of everyone.
The Benefits of Equality in the Workplace
In truth, the benefits of equality at work are not only useful to avoid a legacy like that of serial philanderer Don Draper. Improving fairness, dignity, diversity, and respect for all workers can improve employee engagement, foster creative environments, ensure diverse perspectives are considered whenever there’s a problem, and ultimately boost innovation through the expansion of your team’s horizon. In fact, equality is now seen as one of the core principles of a healthy workplace—and healthy workplaces drive productivity and reduce absences.
On the concept of fairness, your company’s reputation can also be enhanced through increased equality & diversity in the workplace. Subsequently, clients and customers are more likely to hold your organization in high esteem, fostering better working relationships that are likely to last. Additionally, you’ll be able to attract and retain the best talent from around the world, potential employees who place healthy working environments, equality, and diversity high on the list of must-haves.
The benefits of equality at work also extend to those already experiencing the privileged status quo. As our world changes to become more inclusive, benefits surrounding maternity/paternity leave will aim to bring balance, while flexible working patterns spread across more employees (of all genders and backgrounds) will ensure greater work/life balance for all – a clear positive for companies looking to improve the health and wellbeing of their entire workforce.
Promoting Equality and Diversity in the Workplace
The challenges surrounding greater equality to the workplace are now, more than ever, front-page news. High profile companies are gradually committing to equal pay for all workers. Diversity hiring is on the rise, and many companies are now publishing statistics to back up longstanding recruitment strategies. However, for small businesses in particular, promoting equality and diversity in the workplace can seem like an uphill battle – particularly when dealing with small teams and freelancers.
But It doesn’t have to be that way. Ensuring equal salaries and opportunities are only part (albeit a big one) of equality and diversity at work, and ensuring an inclusive working environment where staff can communicate and air grievances is also extremely important. Implementing equal rights policies and plans for the future can also guide your company as you expand, helping you to make more informed choices relating to any aspect of your business, from staffing to product design and everything in between.
Finally, reaching out to other companies in your industry, or even larger companies with proven track records of successful equality and diversity policies, can be a great way to reassess your existing approach and prepare for the future. Policies and plans are one thing, but hard-won experience is quite another, and learning from those leading the latest push towards greater equality and diversity is a surefire way to address your own issues.
For more information on subjects such as equality and diversity, health and wellbeing in the workplace, and how to boost your company’s productivity, check out the Spike blog today.