Equality in the workplace and the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2008 are the foundation stones on which managing diversity in an organisation is based. Equality is concerned with ensuring people are treated fairly and given equal access to opportunities. The employment equality legislation prevents discrimination in the areas of job advertisement, remuneration, access to employment, vocational training, work experience, terms and conditions of employment, promotion or re-grading, classification of posts, dismissal and collective agreements. It applies to full-time, part-time and temporary employees, public and private sector employment, vocational training bodies, employment agencies, trade unions, professional and trade bodies, the self-employed, partnerships and people employed in another person’s home.
Organisations with an equality focus tend to be very concerned with procedures and operating within the law, focusing more on the statutory obligation than the sentiment behind it. An equality focus is primarily concerned with removing barriers and focusing on the participation of under-represented groups. The objective is to treat everyone in the same fair manner, while ensuring the workplace accommodates diverse needs and identities. In this way, discrimination should be reduced and equality promoted.
Diversity management goes much further than legal compliance, as this approach is based on a positive attitude to difference. This approach recognises that individuals with different experiences and backgrounds bring diverse and enriching perspectives and ideas to the organisation. This is a benefit for the organisation, as the range of experiences and approaches offered by a diverse business workforce can be drawn upon to meet the needs of employees and customers alike. A diversity focus tends to be proactive and driven by the organisation’s need and desire for an integrated workplace. It is concerned with nurturing and developing potential and focuses on the individual. Organisations that have already invested considerably in equality initiatives have a strong platform from which to develop their policies further to encompass more diversity initiatives.
The approach that an organisation takes to diversity has a significant effect on its business impact. Diversity in an organisation can be embedded at a deep or shallow level. To really benefit from a diversity approach, the organisation needs to fully embed equality and diversity into the corporate culture and strategy. If not, it is viewed as a short-term initiative, and as such, will fail to deliver meaningful benefits. The starting point for an inclusive corporate culture involves the development of a best practice strategy that is specific to the organisation. This requires the systematic evaluation of business goals and objectives, identifying diversity gaps and equality issues, and creating solutions to enable success. There is no ‘one size fits all’ model as each strategy needs to be systematically tailored to the specific organisation.
Benefits of using the Audit Service
The service allows you to:
- Develop a knowledge of the basic statutory requirements for your equality policies and procedures
- Consider your organisation's focus on diversity and the pursuit of an integrated workforce
- Formulate what your organisation has achieved in terms of its equality and diversity approach and also what is still necessary to do
- Audit your policies and practices any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Audit your policies and practices at your own pace
- Develop online learning for diversity or HR practitioners
We invite you to progress through the review process outlined below to ensure your company policies, systems and procedures measure up to current statutory equality requirements and best practice in diversity.
Visit the Diversity Audit Service section » (username and password required)
“Funded by the Equality Mainstreaming Unit which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund 2007-2013 and by the Equality Authority”
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