Politically, we live in a world that looks like it might be getting more divisive. Conservatism is seeing a surge in politics, but the opinions of the people in business and human rights are definitely moving in a more progressive direction. To that end, it’s a good idea for businesses to be looking at how they could be more progressive, too. Not only for legal reasons but to give your customers and your team alike that our thinking is line with theirs.
The very essentials
Legally, you have an obligation to create as equal a business as possible. With implementations of the gender pay gap 2017 guidelines, for instance, your business is going to have to submit reports on equal pay in the business. This only cements your need to follow not just the spirit of equality but the letter of it as well. Take a closer look at how you pay and how you hire. Take a look at how your business operates, the pay discrepancies and the number of employees of different ages, ethnicities, and ages. If your results seem a little weighted in one direction, then you could be in real danger of crossing legal boundaries that will get you in trouble.
Equal opportunities in business aren’t just about being able to apply for and get a job if you have the right talents regardless of demographic. It’s also about how you’re able to operate inside the job. Unconscious bias and reliance on past societal norms can create a lot of barriers inside the business, too. Some people might not be considered for training and delegation opportunities. Even worse, they might be looked over entirely for promotion and advancement in their role. This is known as the glass cliff and is usually the result of unconscious adherence to norms instead of conscious bias. Make sure you examine how people are selected for opportunities. For instance, instead of inviting people to interview for a position, post the position publicly for all to see instead.
The minefield that is harassment
One of the hardest problems to thoroughly root out is the personal relationships between employees. The only real way is to create a policy that attacks it from all sides. Creating a supportive, impartial process of reporting and investigation is crucial to keep the business from being liable. It’s not just about firing anyone who isn’t showing others the proper respect, either. Offering training in sensitivity and cultural awareness to educate the workplace at large can help stop a lot of the problems of the route. Not everyone harasses intentionally, but it makes it no less unacceptable. Your team cohesion will suffer and the business as a whole can be left vulnerable.
The simple best reason for progressivism in business is to stamp out toxic workplace practices that benefit the few and cause real emotional damage to the team. Make sure that you’re taking care of everyone in the business, not just those who already have an easier path ahead of them.