How does my business create an inclusive environment for its staff?

Legislation stipulates the minimum standards an employer must meet to ensure equal opportunities are delivered to their employees. Jane Cordner, our Head of HR and Operations, takes us through this legislation below.

Fundamentally an employer must ensure that no one is treated less favourably on the protected characteristics of gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy/maternity, religion, religious belief, age, disability or race (which is defined as including ‘colour’, nationality, ethnic or national origins).

Unlawful treatment can take the form of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, associative discrimination and perceptive discrimination and victimisation and harassment cannot be tolerated.

To ensure compliance it is recommended that an employer regularly reviews their arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion, grievance and disciplinary processes, selection for redundancies and any other relevant employment related matters.

Penalties for not meeting these requirements range from:

  • Employee unfair and constructive dismissal tribunal claims with significant compensatory financial awards, if successful

Through to

  • injunctions compelling action to be taken by the business to rectify the matter and prevent such occurring in the future, and
  • Declarations of discrimination

However, compliance with legislation to avoid these penalties is the basic requirement of employers. Increasingly many employers are seeking to take a more proactive stance and be truly inclusive and embrace diversity in its widest sense and in embedding such a culture they are realising many additional benefits including:

  • Being seen as an employer of choice.
  • Attracting high quality candidates.
  • Retaining strong performers.
  • Improving commitment and loyalty.

Developing such an inclusive environment is not without its challenges but there are a good range of strategies that may be employed to help. These include:

  • Developing a policy which is led by the senior management team and supported by all.
  • Creating an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all employees are recognised and valued.
  • Ensuring the business has a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all.
  • Selecting for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit on the basis of aptitude and ability only.
  • Ensuring all employees are developed to their full potential
  • Regularly reviewing all employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness.

How We Can Help:

Our supportive team can help your business in a number of ways:

  • We can undertake an audit of your current practices and then develop a set of proposals for potential improvements
  • We can provide template policies and procedures
  • We can provide training for senior managers and line managers covering legislative requirements as well as good practice in ensuring an inclusive environment for the business
  • We can help develop staff surveys to measure the success of strategies that have been implemented.

If you are keen to develop a more inclusive environment and would like support and guidance in doing so please contact Jane or contact our team on 01258 459361.

Blanchards Bailey

So, how can we help?

Whatever your requirements, our team is standing by.

Call us today on
01258 459361