World Human Rights Day: How employers can reduce inequality in the workplace

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Health Assured team

09 December 2021

Equality. It’s a concept that’s hard to pin down, yet at its core, we can agree that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights (United Nations). No matter of religion, race, colour, sex, language, sexual orientation, age, or status. These characteristics are mere surface differences that mask our shared humanity. Never should they define our worthiness of fair, equal treatment. 

Human Rights Day takes the 10th of December to help educate the world about human rights and address this global issue. This year the theme is Equality – Reducing inequalities and advancing human rights. Reducing inequality requires tackling discrimination and biases deeply engrained in our society. So we’ve put together some tips on how employers can reduce inequality in the workplace. 

Understanding biases 

The brain categorises and simplifies the information we take in to help us make sense of the world around us¹. These subtle pre-conceptions can alter the way we perceive and interact with others. Since the early days of modern society, some groups have experienced discrimination. They've experienced this unfair treatment simply because of their skin colour or religion. Our experience with and exposure to these inequalities shapes how cognitive biases play out in life. 

These cognitive biases occur in our subconscious minds. So we aren’t always aware that we’ve made pre-judgements about someone or something. But when we start to understand our biases, we take back power to approach people and conversations without judgments. We can accept people as they are and be mindful of how our decisions and interactions become influenced by these biases. 

By educating employees about cognitive biases, you can avoid unfair decision making and discrimination in the workplace. 

Equal opportunities for all 

A major part of this year’s theme involves striving towards equal opportunities for all. As an employer, you have a legal obligation to treat all employees equally under the Equality Act (2010). But beyond this, you also have the possibility to lead change in your organisation. You have the chance to create an environment of acceptance, a culture that welcomes differences and a workplace that values every individual. 

Part of this involves ensuring you provide equal opportunities for all employees. Think. Could you be doing more to support disadvantaged groups in the workplace? A great way to overcome this issue is by providing training opportunities to help staff members progress in their careers.

Diversity and inclusion groups

Promoting equality at work also helps to prevent conflict between colleagues and managers. It boosts communication and improves morale. Employees are happier, and they feel supported at work. You can continue your efforts to reduce inequality by setting up a diversity and inclusion group. The group will provide a support network for anyone who's struggled with inequality issues. Members can also help raise awareness of the issues faced by different minority groups in—and outside of the workplace. 

Health Assured can help you to overcome workplace inequalities and create a culture of acceptance in your organisation. Get in touch with our wellbeing experts on: 0844 891 0353

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