We recently contributed to an Irish Times Special Report discussing how equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policies are reported and measured. The article highlights that organisations should take a systemic approach to promote diversity and inclusion in ways that also support business.
“An inclusive workplace culture that embraces critical thinking and gives employees a meaningful voice to challenge and shape their own workplace energises an organisation and ensures that the best talent is attracted and retained, supporting collaboration and driving team performance”, says Margaret McCabe, CEO at the Public Appointments Service.
Inclusion can expand to suit as new considerations are raised and need to be addressed. For example, ‘neurodiversity’ is a growing area of workplace inclusion. It refers to the natural range of differences in human brain function. Among employers, it’s used to describe alternative thinking styles including dyslexia, autism, and ADHD.
Neurodivergent individuals can have unique strengths, including data-driven thinking, an ability to spot trends, and processing information at extraordinary speeds. It’s estimated that at least 10 per cent of the UK population is neurodivergent. However, most workplaces are physically and structurally set up for ‘neurotypicals’, so employers are missing out on other strengths.
“Organisations and companies can measure, report and adapt their EDI policies the same way they would any other company policy. Many organisations have chosen to go down the EDI audit route – examining their internal and external operations and policies to identify strengths and weaknesses and form targeted action plans, with clear metrics, to address any deficits identified”, says McCabe.
In terms of measurement, workforce equality data (and associated administrative data) provides powerful insights into an organisation’s workforce. This type of data enables organisations to identify and address inequality of access, discrimination, and underrepresentation. Without this data, it is impossible to measure the extent to which people from underrepresented groups experience the workforce differently (entry into it, progress through it, remuneration, discrimination and success) from the majority group.
“The implementation of Gender Pay Gap reporting (for companies with more than 250 employees) will likely be a key driver for the future collection of this equality data in Ireland. Publicjobs.ie we are working with the Economic and Social Research Institute to develop an equality monitoring dashboard. This will help us to better understand the composition of the current civil and public service workforce and target our advertising accordingly”, says McCabe.
McCabe outlines that smarter employers have realised the power of staff networks or employee resource groups to help develop, shape and adapt their workplace policies to make them more equitable and inclusive.