39% of workers admit that they have experienced a form of bias in the workplace or when applying for a job, according to research by Badenoch & Clark, part of The Adecco Group UK and Ireland.
The Badenoch & Clark research report, ‘Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace’ also found that one in five (20%) of employees have taken action to hide their age, disability, social background or sexuality in the workplace or when applying for a job. In addition, 22% think that their company does not embrace diversity and inclusion at any level, 29% have never read their company’s diversity and inclusion policy and a worrying 11% said that their company does not even have one.
Having said that, despite this, some workers were surprisingly positive about inclusion in the workplace. Almost half think that their organisation embraces diversity and inclusion at a board level (46%) and at management level (43%). 86% also agree that their organisation employs a broad range of people from all social backgrounds.
Nicola Linkleter, president of professional staffing said: “Whilst it’s great to see that employees are, in some cases, positive about the level of diversity and inclusivity in UK organisations, there is still a long way to go. Each worker that has experienced bias is one too many, and employees will only ever flourish if they feel they can truly be themselves at work. Businesses need to commit to living and breathing diversity and inclusion throughout the entire employee lifecycle and in everything they do – every strategy, every hire, every decision. Ultimately, they should become inclusive by instinct.”
James Nazroo, professor of sociology, University of Manchester and Director of the ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity, added: “This report is extremely valuable in highlighting ongoing problems in making workplaces truly inclusive and in attempting to minimise the negative effects of discrimination on a diverse workforce. This not only impacts on career progression, but also profoundly on the health and wellbeing of employees. Employers in both the private and public sectors need to really engage in these issues and talk about the problems of discrimination in relation to age, gender, ethnicity and social background, not only to meet their legal responsibilities, but also to improve their workplace cultures and the experiences of their employees.”
According to workers, the top five improvements they would like their organisations to make are:
- Diversity and inclusion training (21%)
- More social events (18%)
- More consistent diversity and inclusion communication (12%)
- Mentoring programmes (12%)
- Depersonalising CVs (11%)
Linkleter concluded: “The potential benefits for truly inclusive companies are considerable – from unlocking different opinions and boosting retention to improving engagement and profitability. All these factors will help an organisation to thrive and differentiate itself, something that is increasingly hard to do yet more and more important as the war for talent wages on.”
For more information and advice on how to improve diversity and inclusion within your organisation, please download the Inspiring Inclusion in the Workplace report here.