Compliance Corner: What HR Leaders Should Know About DEI&B
Friday February 25th, 2022
Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 45 seconds
There are many reasons why HR leaders are prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) initiatives – not only is it the right thing to do, but diverse and inclusive workplaces ensure that everyone, regardless of their background or title, feels equally involved and supported in all areas of employment.
In this month’s Compliance Corner blog, isolved People Services HR Business Partner Gary Churnovic is answering common questions employers have about DEI&B. Discover what human resources (HR) departments should know by reading the Q&A below:*
How does an organization’s DEI&B initiatives impact employees?
Employees that feel a sense of belonging within their working environment are more likely to be engaged at work. Additionally, DEI&B can have an impact on recruitment. In fact, research from isolved’s Voice of the Workforce report found that 52 percent of employees think their organization can improve DEI&B initiatives through hiring. With the current overall shortage of workers, candidates have more choices of who they work for and are increasingly choosing employers whose values align with their own. Attracting and hiring the right people requires a positive culture and reputation. Employees are looking to leadership to make a difference in the workplace and the employers that don’t evolve risk having a shrinking candidate pool and difficulties retaining their current talent.
How does DEI&B relate to legal compliance?
A growing number of laws and requirements, enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), are being enacted to support greater diversity and equality in the workplace. Here’s some of the legislation that employers should be aware of:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Individual states have additional protected classes.
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older.
- Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. Individual states/counties may have additional legislation.
- Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work.
- Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment.
- Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic information with respect to health insurance and employment.
- Equality Act (passed by the House and now before the Senate) prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
What is the business impact of DEI&B initiatives?
Advancing workplace diversity can lead to several business benefits. In fact, research shows diversity can improve engagement, innovation and productivity within an enterprise, as well as lead to higher profitability. What’s more, consumers are increasingly taking their business to companies with a proven commitment to DEI&B, oftentimes seeking out and being loyal to businesses who share their social values.
What can businesses do to ensure DEI&B initiatives are effective within their organization?
- Discuss what DEI&B is with employees and outline initiatives taking place within the organization to support diversity and inclusion
- Include information about DEI&B in the company’s mission statement
- Develop a robust policy to ensure compliance with DEI&B policies
- Communicate goals and measurement processes
- Educate leaders and develop a strategic training program for all
- Conduct candidate interview training
- Consider DEI&B in all employment decisions, including hiring/promoting/pay practices
- Be aware of unconscious bias
- Communicate the importance of managing bias
- Form an Inclusion Council or DEI&B Committee
- Empower employees to give back to the causes they are passionate about through a formal corporate social responsibility program
- Ensure there is diversity within teams
- Celebrate differences, including acknowledging holidays of all cultures
- Make it easy for all employees to participate in employee resource groups
- Encourage feedback from employees and make action plans based on received responses
It is important for companies to recognize the key role they play in economic recovery, stability and resilience. Effective DEI&B strategies support employees, build culture, increase productivity and help to create a thriving business. In return, employees working in person or remotely are more likely to feel engaged, safe, connected and included within the organization.
Gary is part of isolved’s People Services team and has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of HR management. His areas of expertise include policy development, employee relations, performance management, labor laws and compliance and training and development. Throughout his career, Gary has supported HR clients in the healthcare, retail, finance, manufacturing and construction industries, to name a few.
* This blog is not legal advice. Please seek proper legal advice.
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