Good Business Charter diversity and inclusion feature image

Diversity and inclusion

The GBC requires businesses to evidence how they monitor the diversity of their workforce and their commitment to close the gender, disability and ethnicity pay gaps as well as narrow the executive-worker pay gap.

What it is

The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.

It set outs a range of protected characteristics. These are:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability including mental health issues
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Religion or belief

There is also an increasing focus on socio-economic background and improving social mobility.

Diversity is about recognising and valuing difference and the benefits of a representative workforce. Inclusion is the practices that ensure the workplace is inclusive of all and that every individual feels respected, valued, accepted and included within their workplace and can bring their whole selves to work.

Why it matters

A diverse, equal and inclusive culture is imperative for a business to continue to thrive because it puts its people at the heart of its operation. When people feel valued and included, they are more likely to flourish at work. More diverse teams lead to better business outcomes. Diversity will also boost the reputation and brand of a business in line with an increasingly globalised working world.

A more diverse workforce and inclusive workplace therefore offers many advantages; including improved customer orientation and service, innovation, productivity, profitability, morale and staff retention.

Improving diversity and inclusion

To make progress on diversity involves looking at an individual’s journey in the workplace,

considering especially:

  1. Attraction of talent
    1. Diverse imagery and language used in adverts
    2. External communication about the fact diversity is valued
    3. Accessibility of adverts
  2. Selection of talent
    1. Importance of a diverse range of people involved in the shortlisting and interview process
    2. Consider the possibility of blind recruitment
    3. Accessibility of overall recruitment process, taking into account specific needs of applicants
  3. Retention of talent
    1. Internal communication that diversity is important
    2. Employee groups for under-represented groups whose voices are heard
    3. Structured career progression plans for all
    4. Commitment to reduce pay gaps
  4. Inclusive culture
    1. Inclusive workplace through all lines of management with a priority to see managers fostering an inclusive workplace as part of their objectives
    2. A budget assigned to diversity and inclusion
  5. Data
    1. Importance of explaining why you are collecting any relevant data to try and get highest level of response
    2. Publishing and tracking this data
  6. Training and awareness
    1. Increasing understanding of inclusive language and behaviour amongst all employees through training
    2. Raising awareness of all our differences and different strands of diversity through campaigns and employee-led networks.

Self-certification

We will ask questions about:

  1. Whether you assign time and money as is reasonably required to making your business an inclusive place to work and take steps to increase participation from underrepresented groups at all levels?
  2. Whether you collect voluntarily from your employees diversity gender, ethnicity and disability data, explaining clearly how it will be used, and analyse this data against a baseline and sector trends?
  3. Whether you have measures in place to encourage diversity at key stages of recruitment, selection and retention of employees as well as measures to prevent harassment or victimisation in the workplace?
  4. Whether you communicate both externally and internally your commitment to diversity and inclusion?  By external we mean typically on your website and/or printed material and by internal we mean a colleague/staff handbook and/or employment contract and/or rules of employment or similar.

For companies with over 50 employees we will also ask you about your reporting on gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps and diversity data with plans to close these gaps as well as narrow your CEO/worker pay gap where applicable.  If you are unable to analyse pay data we will ask you to analyse representation, hiring and leaving figures at least annually and report to board level on plans to address any issues that are revealed.

Concerns

If you are concerned that you will not be able to answer these questions but believe that your business or charity practices follow the spirit of this component, please consult with us so that we can make a judgement on whether we believe you meet the requirements of the component.  We are really keen to have organisations of all sizes and from all types of industries and sectors joining the Good Business Charter.  These are standard questions and for some organisations there may be questions that are just not relevant or too onerous.  We want to hear from you if you feel that is the case and we will take a sympathetic view. 

Equally, companies with a smaller number of employees may feel that the wording of the questions is rather technical for the way they operate.  We do not want to exclude anyone behaving responsibly just because they feel this has not been designed with their organisation’s size or industry in mind.  We encourage you to apply the questions to your own unique setting and if in doubt, do contact us to explain the way in which you believe in your own way that you meet this component so that together we can consider whether it is sufficient or what else may be necessary to receive GBC accreditation.

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