The Advantages of Equity in the Workplace
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 - Prophit Co.
Earlier this month, we covered the ideas of equality and equity, what they are, and how can be applied on a macro scale, specifically looking at healthcare. If you’re having trouble remembering, we’ll save you a click and do a short and simple recap.
Equality means that resources are distributed evenly, while equity means that resources are distributed according to need. With an equity-based approach to a problem, the people most disproportionately affected by said problem will receive the increased level of support they need to have it solved for them relative to others.
As a leader, ensuring equity in the workplace should be considered a priority. Companies all over the world are embracing the concept that each of their employees feels equally supported and enabled to succeed based on their unique, individual needs. Especially in a modern, large-scale virtual and hybrid working environment, it might be harder to put a face to the name and remember that employees all have their own boxes that need to be checked so that they can do their very best work.
Creating equity in the workplace is not a simple one-and-done task, and it’s not something that can be simplified down to a single article. The ways in which equity can or needs to be created in your workplace are determined by what issues are most pertinent in your specific team(s). The leader’s responsibility is to understand the unique needs of their employees and create a plan that addresses them.
Although we can’t tell you exactly what you need to do to create equity in your organization, we can point to a couple excellent examples that might get you on the right track. Proctor & Gamble, for one, appoints an Accessibility Leader and works with the People with Disabilities Network to internally support disabled employees and advocate for disabled-oriented accessibility in general. They also host a Disabilities Challenge, which has their employees pool ideas for making products more accessible to those impaired. Another example is KPMG, which pairs senior leaders with junior employees of a different gender, sexuality, or race. Those in the latter group then mentor those in the former on how they can practice inclusivity more thoroughly (Leary).
Remember, we all lead different lives. Your employees have different lifestyles, different priorities, and different struggles. The best thing an employer can do is to recognize this, and operate knowing that individual employees will have their own individual needs to be met so that they are empowered to do the best job they can for the company.
Equity makes a world of difference to employees and can manifest itself as a standout competitive advantage for your company. Creating equity can lead to improved innovation, better employee engagement and retention, and better bottom-line financial performance (Diversio). By making the effort, you’d be joining the ranks of the many highly successful companies that have made equity (and more broadly, diversity and inclusion) a critical part of their modus operandi, like P&G and KPMG, as well as DOW, Mastercard, Toyota, and Progressive (Means).
Consult with your fellow leaders and your team about the equity approach in your organization. Is there room for improvement? More that could be done? A different method that could be applied? Equity done right is a competitive advantage.
Means, Brandon (2022). “Equity vs Equality: A DE&I Advisor Explains the Difference” [Article]. 22 August, 2022. InsightGlobal. https://insightglobal.com/blog/equity-vs-equality/ [Accessed June 13, 2023]
“Understanding Workplace Equity vs Equality” [Article]. Diversio. https://diversio.com/understanding-workplace-equity-vs-equality/ [Accessed June 13, 2023].
Leary, Ber (2021). “5 Companies With Inspiring Examples of Diversity Equity and Inclusion” [Article]. 9 December 2021. HeliosHR. https://www.helioshr.com/blog/5-companies-with-inspirational-examples-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion [Accessed June 13, 2023]