Creating a fairer Britain
Title of guidance:
Year published: 2010
Length: 73 pages
Format: PDF, Word
Other formats: Contact the EHRC helpline for alternative formats: www.equalityhumanrights.com/about-us/advice-from-our-helpline/
Producer/ Publisher: Equality and Human Rights Commission
Type of organisation: Human rights commission in the UK
Employment services | Human Rights Act | GB wide | Case studies | External service guidance
Audience: Corporate management | Human resources | Front-line service personnel | Policy managers and directors
Topics: Human rights | equality | transparency and accountability | proportionality | involvement and participation | dignity | autonomy | private sector | gender | sexual orientation / LGBT | training | employment / workplace
This document provides practical ideas for creating an inclusive workplace and is relevant for private, public, third sector and charity organisations. The document addresses guidance for both large and small businesses by providing suggestions of human rights approaches that improve workplace productivity and inclusiveness. The document provides many case studies of real-life organisations using human rights principles to change their workplace structure, illustrating how this has been successful. The document is directed to those responsible for staff policies and management, including recruitment, training and development, and day-to-day operational management. The document shows how a human rights based approach can improve workplace productivity, motivation and retention, and how this approach has wider implications for benefiting customer and community relations.
This guidance is divided into 9 chapters, all of which provide clear headings and subheadings that are easy to follow and reference.
This section introduces who will benefit from the guidance. It introduces the ideas contained in the document and how an inclusive workplace can provide benefit to a business.
This section lists features and an explanation of traits of an inclusive workplace.
This section provides explanation of why inclusion makes good business sense. The following are key points addressed in the chapter.
This section of the guidance provides detailed steps on how to create an inclusive work environment. These steps include practical guidance for the following:
4.1 Consider what you want to achieve
4.2 Undertake an inclusion review
4.3 Create an action plan
4.4 Communicate and implement the action plan
4.5 Review policies, practices and informal working culture on a regular basis
This section also provides a number of case studies to illustrate how work environments have improved through specific policy or environmental changes at their workplace.
The case studies are divided into topical areas as follows.
Taking the Lead
Case studies are from North Wales Police, BT and Tower Hamlets Council. The case studies show different examples of how monitoring activities and collecting data on employees can encourage employees to self-declare their particular needs to improve equality practices and promote sensitivity to individual and group needs.
Think about what you say
Case studies are from North Wales Police and Mersey Care NHS Trust. The case studies show different ways policy can guide inclusiveness and human rights values as part of a work culture from top management throughout the entire workforce. Attitudes, behaviours, and actions are a means to showing how staff can show evidence of equality and inclusiveness in their job. The Mersey Care example shows the importance of providing visible ‘inclusive’ leadership. The creating, extending or improving of policies on human rights can ensure the policies are equality proofed.
Know where you stand
The case study is from BT, and shows how flexibility for home workers in their workforce has been a win-win situation for all involved. The case is an example of flexible working policies that increase productivity, save on overhead costs, and benefit the staff members, and provide more opportunities for business within the communities where home worker employees live.
This section also discusses fair and transparent pay and reward policies and practices, ’zero tolerance’ policy on bullying, harassment and discrimination, and the importance of training staff on these policies.
Training for all
The case study is from The British Library. It describes their training initiative for all new employees on diversity and equality awareness, and a bespoke training initiative on religion, belief and cultural needs in preparation for a particular event, and how this has had a large positive influence on their work staff.
This section also describes examples of how inclusion is used as a key management approach.
A helping hand
The case study is from Bernard Matthews. It shows how they have integrated a diverse workforce, including migrant workers, and how providing support needs for this group has been successful for the company and the workforce environment. By taking a range of measures to make workers of all nationalities feel at home and equal, their zero tolerance policy on discrimination and victimisation has been enforced and migrant staff have integrated well into the local community.
Breaking down barriers
Case studies are from North Wales Police and the University of Glasgow. The case studies give examples of how equality and human rights champions at the workplace can provide mentoring and support, and can break down barriers between groups and individuals
The case study is from BT. The case study shows how employee networks and forums promoting a common interest or identity can promote inclusion and bring business benefits. The groups can inform and consult and provide reference for developing business policy and procedures.
The case study is from Tower Hamlets Council. The case study provides information on how THC employee equality forums, including the ethnic minority forum, Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and transgender (LGBT) forum and Muslim forum, have engaged in seminars around topics that promote culture-changing initiatives in the workplace.
This section also advises taking an inclusive approach when designing job descriptions, and provides ideas for equality in recruitment, promotions and job development.
The case study is from North Wales Police. They routinely ask equality and diversity questions to all interviewees for all job positions, in order to ensure the same values, attitudes and behaviours are understood and carried forward into the new job.
This section outlines important ways to improve recruitment practices. It gives practical ideas for:
The case study is from BT. The case study shows how the company encouraged women engineers to apply, by using a ‘gender lens’ when considering application criteria and changing advertising campaigns to encourage women to apply.
This section outlines how to create inclusive training and development opportunities, build employees skills, and develop employee’s cross-project working in different areas.
A helping hand (2)
The case study is from Tower Hamlets Council. This example shows how the council worked in partnership with a university support programme, which provided mentoring opportunities and educational support for enhancing management skills and ensuring more informed work practices. New and junior staff from under-represented groups gained from the experience, and employers may see increased productivity and retention rates.
The case study is from Lovells. The law firm launched a women’s staff network, which supports diversity and retaining talented female employees. It set up a mentoring project in the forum that pairs junior and senior staff women together, to confidentially be able to speak about career advancement, life-work balancing, and other goals and needs.
This section also addresses work placements, describing the benefits to volunteers and to existing employees and the work culture.
Giving you a start
The case study is from Marks and Spencer, which runs a ‘Mark and Start’ voluntary programme for unemployed and disadvantaged groups. It gives an example of it’s partnership with the NGO ‘DisabledGO’, and how the buddy system design of the programme benefits the individual participant and the company. Individuals recruited that are hired on with the company have high retention and low absence rates.
This section also introduces the practice of exit interviews, and the value of documenting staff feedback on equality and human rights practices and the workplace culture. Exit interviews may be the only time an employee feels comfortable disclosing their candid views on the subject.
The section gives advice on community engagement and how a company can benefit from understanding what the community needs and how businesses can become more involved in work schemes in the community for mutual benefit.
Time to help
The case study is from BT. The case study is a volunteer programme set up to provide (optional) three paid days a year to undertake voluntary work. The experience widens the perspectives of the employees, is of benefit to the volunteer recipient and provides employee development and better community relations for the company.
Dedicated to others
The case study is from KPMG. KPMG provides all employees with 3.5 hours per month to volunteer within the wider community. It gives an example of working with the Refugee Council, aiming to equip refugees who may be qualified and experienced in the financial sector in their countries. KPMG staff provides support on helping refugees prepare for finding jobs in the UK. KPMG are planning a mentoring programme with the Refugee Council to provide ongoing assistance to refugees. Staff gain personal perspectives on other cultures and the social situation for refugees in the UK, and also learn from the experiences of those they mentor.
This section explains how to create and implement action plans for an inclusive workplace. It gives ideas for communication strategies that support the plan. Launching events and seminars are some ideas of how to communicate and promote changes and development within the organisation to staff.
The case study is from Gentoo. This case study gives example of how hosting awareness raising events can have an impact on creating an inclusive workplace. Gentoo held an ‘equality and diversity’ month, which launched their new equality and diversity strategy, offered awareness raising seminars and events, and promoted a series of handbooks that include subjects of cultural awareness, disability, sexual orientation and gender. The handbooks and events had an impact of opening up discussion around subjects that are sensitive at the workplace.
This section provides further ideas on communicating equality or inclusion at the workplace. When providing new policies and information on equality or inclusion to employees on the intranet, it is important that information is placed in visible and known areas. It is also important to take an inclusive view of your communication strategies – be sure to provide information to those that do not have access to computers by using newsletters or notice boards.
Spreading the word
Case study is from The British Library. They stress the need for diverse means and wide dissemination of communication to accommodate diverse needs of staff, and they recognise that change takes time.
This section stresses the importance of regularly monitoring policies put into practice. Data should be collected and evaluated on a regular basis, and employees should be consulted and updated regularly. It is advised to use your first inclusion review as a baseline to backstop subsequent inclusion reviews.
This section describes how to measure the impact of your actions in order to assess effectiveness. It gives direction on consulting with staff, reviewing polices to see if they are ‘equality proofed’, the importance of collecting and monitoring data on actions toward employees and customers, and how to set benchmarks, targets and indicators of success.
A case study from the Barnardo’s award scheme for good diversity practice is given.
This section outlines how the human rights values and practices can have particular significance for small businesses.
A case study from the Image Group shows a number of actions taken by the company to make the workplace more inclusive. These actions include flexible work hours, volunteer work placements with skilled refugee workers, and on-the-job training and support.
This section provides a case study of Marks and Spencer work placement programme. The programme organised with charities, in this example, DisabledGO, illustrates how actions toward inclusion can have a positive impact on the company and individual workers’ lives.
This section addresses important questions about implementing equality and human rights in the workplace and clarifies employers’ concerns regarding perceived challenges in creating or improving inclusiveness in the workplace.
This section provides many useful web-links for guidance on:
We hope that you found the resource helpful and easy to use. Please let us know about other guidance or references that you think we should include. Send us your feedback.