Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policies in the Workplace: Free Template
Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are concepts we must all actively incorporate into all areas of our lives, and this is especially true when in the workplace. Everyone deserves equal opportunity, no matter what background they may come from or what attributes they may possess.
However, this does not mean simply treating everyone the same. Equality, diversity and inclusion are all about promoting and accepting the things that distinguish us from those around us and making others feel safe and welcome. It is about ensuring that you are receptive to the needs of those with unique characteristics; that you are supportive and inclusive of them. This is what an EDI policy should represent.
This article will feature a downloadable equality, diversity and inclusion policy example, to help you understand where to begin when writing your own policy for your company, and how to develop and maintain it.
What are Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policies?
This is a written document that solidifies your commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion in your workplace. It sets out your obligations in areas like recruitment, training and pay. It indicates that you value every individual; that you are willing and prepared to fulfil their needs; that you will stand by them and combat discrimination. EDI policies aim to uproot prejudice and discrimination, taking protected characteristics into account at the heart of disputes.
The equality, diversity and inclusion policy will state that the company aims to safeguard those who may face inequality or harassment due to one or more of the 9 protected characteristics. These are protected from discrimination under equality legislation – the Equality Act (2010).
The 9 Protected Characteristics are:
- Sexual orientation
- Religion or belief
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
You may also want to extend those safeguards beyond the 9 protected characteristics to include other characteristics that may result in a person becoming under-represented, marginalised or minoritised for example; socio-economic status or caring responsibilities.
Every workplace should have an EDI policy and apply it to every aspect of employment – whether it be recruitment, pay, access to facilities, benefits, discipline procedures, and everything in between, right up to the end of their employment and beyond. A policy can guide how you should manage a situation in which someone has been treated unfairly or disrespectfully within your business.
It is not the law to have an EDI policy. However, it is strongly recommended in order to create an inclusive workplace, committed to celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion. An HR team will be best suited to developing, monitoring and actioning an EDI policy. However, this does not mean they are strictly limited to interacting with and contributing to the policy.
Why are EDI Policies Important in the Workplace?
Having an EDI policy is important for a number of reasons, it makes sure everyone knows:
- The ways in which the business supports employees and ensures all are treated fairly and with respect.
- The attitudes and behaviours expected from employees.
- Important information surrounding discrimination, the law and what is not acceptable.
- Where to go and what to do when seeking to report or resolve problems – your own or not.
EDI policies may also point to staff networks or employee assistance groups/programmes for external support.
A workplace that celebrates equality, diversity and inclusion has greater opportunities for productivity, innovation and collaboration. On top of this, the greater diversity in an employee pool allows for a larger mix of skills, ideas, experiences and perspectives to draw upon. Employee engagement and satisfaction in such workplaces tend to be far more positive.
In taking EDI policies seriously you can ensure, from the get-go, that all employees understand and are committed to making the workplace a positive environment. Furthermore, having an EDI policy in place can help to highlight areas for improvement in your business, for you to then continually build a more inclusive company culture.
Ensuring EDI policies set boundaries and expectations on people’s conscious behaviours is clearly very important. However, often many discriminatory ideologies and behaviours are more deep-rooted in people, to the point that they may not even realise they are unintentionally causing offence. Therefore, it is important to know how to identify biases you may hold. To find out more, take a look at our article on unconscious bias, here.
Want to Learn More?
Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Training Course has been designed to help learners understand more about their responsibilities for promoting equality and diversity in the workplace. It aims to help you promote a fairer, more tolerant and more diverse working environment.
How to Create an EDI Policy
When creating an EDI policy, there are several key steps to take. Firstly, get an idea of the business starting position in relation to EDI. Talk to your employees and get their opinions on where they feel the company currently lies and what they would like to see kept the same, improved or reconsidered. This policy will chiefly affect your employees and will have the greatest impact when it is informed by the opinions of all staff, so consulting with them and understanding what they feel should be represented is important.
It is also important to get feedback from members of staff who may typically be under-represented, marginalised or minoritised because of the protected characteristics they possess, as the policy will do a great deal in supporting them.
To be authentic in your approach to EDI, it’s essential to listen to employees. To learn more about listening with focused intent, take a look at our article on Active Listening.
Furthermore, it is important to educate those in senior positions within the business. An EDI policy will do no good if negativity continues to be practised at the senior levels of an organisation. At all levels, it is important that there is a base level of knowledge and training for people to understand EDI and the commitments it takes to ingrain it into the workplace.
Writing an EDI Policy – 7 steps
- To begin the policy, write a statement that outlines your organisation’s commitment to equality; explain that your aims are to create a workforce that is diverse, promotes positivity, and allows everyone to thrive, no matter their background or characteristics.
- Following this paragraph, identify that your employment will not discriminate on the grounds of any protected characteristics. This demonstrates your understanding of the protected characteristics; that you are able to identify them; that you will not be biased or have reservations based on them. Explicitly state that you oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.
- Then, outline the type of work environment your establishment aims to create, i.e., one free of discrimination and prejudice, and one that allows everyone to bring their authentic selves to work. Make it clear that everyone will be treated fairly, with respect, and will be given equal opportunity in every aspect of their working role.
- State that, when selecting for employment, promotion, training, or anything of this nature, it will be based on the individual’s own capability and potential. Their attitude and capability will determine their suitability for the role; it will not be affected by any of the protected characteristics.
- You could then give a list of bullet points that sum up your main attitudes, values, and aims where equality and diversity is concerned, such as one stating that you aim to create an environment in which individual differences and the ways in which everyone contributes is recognised and valued.
- Reinforce your sentiments and your intolerance towards discrimination – including the fact that disciplinary action will be taken against those that breach your policy.
- And lastly, state that the policy is active; that it will be monitored and reviewed regularly. Over time you can get feedback from employees via surveys, diversity data, equality reviews and such – all are important in keeping your EDI policy relevant and up-to-date.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Example
The guidance provided in this article will make it much easier to understand where to begin when writing your company’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy, and how to develop and maintain this. To assist you in producing your policy, we have created this EDI Policy Example PDF. You can use this as a base on how to construct your own EDI policy and make it relevant to your workplace.
This example PDF template covers all the basics of what your policy should include. It will need expanding and tailoring to your company’s requirements but should prove to be of use to you.
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