Workplace inequalities are nothing to write home about. Unfortunately for everyone, they have become so commonplace in today’s corporate world that many don’t even consider them an issue.
However, communities that revolve around minorities (whether racial, religious or LGBT) want equal rights to work and prosper much like everyone else around them. What are some of the most obvious and progressive steps towards workplace equality that you should consider if you are facing the above-mentioned issues?
A bottom-up culture
Some of the most progressive companies in the world didn’t get to where they are today by staying traditional and conservative. While it is true that most CEOs prefer to keep a close eye on their employees and bring decisions to the table without consulting anyone other than their executive boards, many implement a bottom-up culture in their corporations.
The idea is to give everyone a voice no matter what position they may occupy currently. Even interns and warehouse managers have a lot to say about the company policies, the way business is done and what improvements can be made. This type of internal culture does a lot to alleviate any inequalities based on gender, race, sexual orientation or even political stances.
Giving your employees same benefits across the board does a lot to ease any tension that might come from personal differences. Women have always been the target of lower salaries than their male counterparts no matter how good they might be at their jobs. Giving people same salaries (based on departments), holiday limitations, as well as professional development opportunities, is a great way to level the playing field and make everyone cooperate a bit better.
Team days and seminars
The best way to bridge any gaps that might exist between your traditional and LGBT employees is to introduce team days and group activities into your break times. People who work together to catch a ball on the playing field or solve a puzzle together to win a prize will most likely transfer that energy into their everyday work.
People can be stressed due to a lack of free time during their lunch hours or even weekends if they are forced to take their work home. A lot of the inequality and intolerance comes from a general stress that overcomes even the most patient employees. Take time to organize group activities and seminars into your schedule and your equality problems will start to ease up.
Face the issues directly
When push comes to shove, it’s up to the upper management to take a stance on an issue and face it head-on. Sometimes inequality will come from unexpected places, and coworkers will avoid each other in the hallway or during lunch just because there are whispers of someone being involved in something else. These whispers and rumors can cause severe problems in the overall productivity of the company floor which means that managers should always stand on neutral ground and raise awareness of an issue that plagues the company.
Just because someone managed to fight their way to an upper position doesn’t mean they are immune to inequalities that come from coworker jealousy or fear of the unknown. If all else fails, face an inequality issue directly and address it with everyone on the floor present. Only then will you be able to scare away the gloomy clouds that appeared over your office.
Equality will always be an ongoing issue when workplace dynamics are concerned. People just can’t help themselves and the upbringing they were taught to respect.
Keep in mind that you should always have an open mind to anyone that presents you with a personal opinion about your gender, race or sexual orientation. Sometimes people speak without thinking and it hurts us more than it hurts them. Strive towards equality no matter what side of the argument you are on and do what you can to provide the same opportunities for everyone.
Bio: Sylvia Giltner is a freelance writer, HR manager, and blogger who works at Resumes Centre. She supports equal civil rights, LGBT social movements, and gender equality.