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While equity and equality appear the same, they are quite different in the workplace. If you want your organization to champion an inclusive workplace culture, then distinctions must be drawn between the two ideas. Let’s look at equity and equality and why it’s vital that your organization make the shift to a more inclusive work environment.
Equality vs. Equity
“Equality” in the workplace means treating all candidates and employees the same and offering them the same opportunities, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and other identifying demographics. An example of workplace equality in the recruitment world would be all candidates receiving the same amount of time to complete a sample work assignment as a part of the hiring process.
Equity is a similar concept, but with a focus on the individual. “Equity” in the workplace offers all candidates and employees the same opportunities while taking into account their individual needs for specific support and resources that level the playing field. Promoting equity means ensuring that candidates are free from bias.
The difference between equality and equity can be demonstrated using employee benefits as an example. Equality in employee benefits would be all employees receiving the same benefits package (insurance, pension plan), and equity would allow employees to choose benefits that suit them best according to their situation. For example, someone with insurance through a partner might prefer more salary over the company plan, and equitable benefits include spousal health insurance available to same-sex couples and non-traditional families.
What Employees Want
Aside from contributing to a more inclusive culture, promoting equity in the workplace is important because it’s what employees want. CNBC reported that nearly 80% of the workforce wants to work for a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s beneficial to your business, as well, because an inclusive work environment produces a wider variety of perspectives. A variety of ideas from people with different backgrounds drives innovation and improves the turnaround time for problem-solving. Organizations that promote equity and inclusion are far more likely to retain employees longer than those that don’t bother.
Catering to the different needs of your employees encourages their full potential. Unsure where to begin assessing equality or equity in your workplace? Getting employee feedback is a great place to start. Evaluate your pay structures and see if employees are paid the same if they are doing work of equal value. When implementing the new policy, it’s crucial that you develop a way to track your progress.