The average human being spends about one-third of his/her lifetime at work, and so it needs to be at a place where they feel safe and appreciated. Every person deserves a healthy and nourishing working environment that helps them advance in their career or profession.
The employer is responsible for the wellbeing of all employees, thus preventing workplace discrimination is among their foremost duties. Discrimination at work can lead to legal sanctions, which is supposedly bad for business.
Most of the time, businesses owners are unaware of workplace politics and rivalries, thus employee lawsuits come as a surprise. Victims of workplace discrimination possess the right to sue the company and claim worker’s compensation benefits for damages.
Therefore, it is necessary to take cautionary measures and incorporate principles of equality. When employees are happy, productivity at the workplace increases and business flourishes.
The following tips shall help you institute a peaceful work environment and gain the loyalty of those working for you:
1. Expel Bias at the Hiring Stage
Prejudice infiltrates the core of our employment system, which is why it can be observed at the very initial stages. Many recruiters judge applicants on physical characteristics rather than scanning their resume. For example, several companies only prefer youngsters or fresh graduates, and some employers cannot overcome their reservations for people of color.
Work on improving workplace diversity by giving a chance to people of all genders, age groups, races, and origins. Do not hesitate to hire someone with a disability if they are qualified and capable of handling the job they applied for.
2. Establish Strict Policies
It is very important to establish ground rules and demonstrate zero-tolerance for workplace violations. Implementing strict policies against harassment and discrimination from the start will keep potential troublemakers in check.
Formulate an employee handbook that clearly states the punishment or consequences for discriminatory practices. The established policies should apply to everyone, regardless of their position or rank in the company.
3. Educate and Train the Staff
Sometimes, discrimination can be unintended or misunderstood due to lack of awareness. For example, a worker may not realize that they are causing discomfort to a colleague; on the contrary, a harmless gesture or conduct could be mistaken for offensive behavior.
Therefore, it is necessary to educate the staff on the topic of discrimination. They should know what counts as discrimination, how to respond to it, and the procedure to report it to the authorities. The HR team must be trained to initiate and manage corrective procedures in response to complaints, efficiently and effectively.
4. Refrain from Favoritism
Everyone has favorites; you might like an employee more than others for their intelligence, great fashion sense, or something else. However, this only becomes a problem if you let it show and give an unfair advantage to this person.
At the workplace, each and every team member is an equal, thus differential treatment is the same as discrimination. If you are compelled to give out compliments, try to point out the best in everyone rather than praising a single person.
5. Provide equal benefits and opportunities
Every worker, regardless of their origin or background, deserves the same employment incentives as everyone else. Paying female employees less than males for the same job is a common example of gender discrimination.
Many hardworking females are never considered for promotion, higher training, and leadership roles because of chauvinism. Similarly, members of the LGBTQ+ community have to settle for minimum wage or odd jobs because they are seen as an unorthodox or controversial choice; people of color and minorities also face similar issues.
As an employer, you must ensure that everyone working for you is given equal opportunities to advance in their career. Different employment benefits, such as annual increment, year-end bonuses, and paid leaves should be available for everyone, without distinction.
6. Offer multiple channels for communication
At times, the HR representative may not be reachable or deemed inappropriate to discuss the problem with. The victim might lack the confidence to confront, or be intimidated by someone from the HR department.
In that case, they should be able to speak to a person of higher authority and confide in private; communication through an email, text message, or written application must also be entertained. If someone has observed discrimination in the workplace that does not concern them, they should be allowed to report it anonymously.
7. Judge employees by Performance
If multiple employees are competing for a higher post or promotion, do not allow nepotism to come in the way of making a rational decision. It is your duty to judge contenders upon their professionalism and performance at work, rather than any unrelated characteristics.
It should not matter if the most promising candidate is a woman of color or a person of unconventional sexual orientation.
8. Investigate and Resolve Complaints Promptly
If an incident of discrimination has been reported, make sure that the concerned department takes it seriously, and immediately instigates damage control. An internal investigation must be conducted to confirm the allegations, and then action be taken accordingly.
The concerned staff should be able to accommodate the victim, so that they feel secure, and do not hesitate from disclosing details. The perpetrator may receive their first warning, penalty, temporary suspension, or expulsion, depending on the severity of the circumstances.
9. Celebrate Cultural Differences
Perhaps you are a liberal person who doesn’t judge a book by its cover, though you cannot say the same about each and every one that is a part of your company. If you want your staff to respect each other and work like a family, you must celebrate their differences.
You can do this by organizing special events that explore contrasting cultures and provide a learning, yet fun experience. These kinds of gatherings and festivities will bring people together, clear misconceptions, and break stereotypes.
10. Organize Team-building Activities
If you feel that employees within the workplace are awkward around each other or do not mix due to different origins and/or appearances, strive to break the ice between them. Encourage them to get to know one another and work as partners in different projects. Place them in a situation where they have to rely on each other, and that is how you eliminate barriers.
It is important that colleagues trust each other and have each other’s back at all times. Teamwork and harmony allows a business to overcome the toughest challenges and rise to the top.
Elijah Cole is the founder of The Witty Minds blog and a professional content creator. His expertise lies in creative writing and lifestyle blogging. At Witty Minds, he is the lead writer, editor, and publisher of all original content.