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THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS TOOLKIT: Diversity Policies and Strategies


THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS TOOLKIT All of the Chapters so the Women in Business Toolkit can be found online on the Women in Business Toolkit section of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Website along with an online version of this document. Click the links below or see www.Birmingham-Chamber.com/WIBToolkit for more information.

Having a family and caring for dependents

Promoting Best Practice Mentoring and Sponsorship

Maternity Leave and Pay

Unconscious Bias Training

Paternity Leave and Pay

Transparency in Pay and Promotions

Adoption Leave and Pay Shared Parental Leave and Pay The Right to Request Flexible Working

Promoting Diversity Through Recruitment Flexible Working

Statutory Parental Leave

Diversity Policies and Strategies

Your Rights in the Workplace

Making the Case

Discrimination, Informal and Formal Grievances and The Equality Act (2010)

Making the Case: How to Construct a Business Case and Useful Statistics

Taking a Case to Employment Tribunal


INTRODUCTION: This handy little guide offers you some concise and, we hope, highly practical and useful information on Diversity Policies and Strategies. If you like the sound of Diversity Policies and Strategies check out the ‘How to Construct a Business Case and Useful Statistics’ chapter of the Women in Business Toolkit for lots of helpful advice and statistics to help you make the case to your employer. For more information click on the link on the left-hand page or go to the Women in Business Section of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce website: www.Birmingham-Chamber.com/WIBToolkit

Connecting you to opportunity... This guide, brought to you by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, is part of the Women in Business Toolkit. This toolkit aims to help inform and empower women and encourage best practice in businesses, helping make the UK a forward thinking, attractive place to work. Whilst useful and informative, it does not aim to provide encyclopaedic knowledge or in-depth legal advice about the topics in question, merely an introductory account. If you have any questions about any of the topics covered in this document please do speak to your HR department/the member of staff responsible for this area or seek professional advice. The Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce features some of the UK’s oldest and largest Chambers. It has nearly 3,000 member companies that employ over 200,000 plus affiliate organisations representing 15,000 people. It offers extensive services to industry and commerce, having served the interests of business for nearly three centuries, promoting trade locally, nationally and internationally.


Just over

Just over

Workplaces are covered by a formal diversity policy

Workplaces have a diversity strategy in place

Amongst workplaces with a written diversity or equal opportunities policy:

Referred to disability

Referred to age

Referred to race or gender

Referred to sexual orientation

Referred to religion or belief


WHAT IS A DIVERSITY POLICY? A diversity policy is a statement of your organisation’s commitment to promoting Equality and Diversity. They are entirely a best practice activity and, whilst many employers do, your organisation does not have to have one. Most diversity policies include the following information: 

A declaration of your organisation’s commitment to equality and fostering a diverse workforce. e.g. ‘We seek to create a working environment where all employees, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, martial status, age, pregnancy, maternity or disability are: 1) given equal opportunity to succeed in our organisation, 2) able to work free from bullying and harassment and 3) work in an environment where all decisions are made based on merit.’

An identification of the types of discrimination that your organisation will seek to combat. e.g. Direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation (for more information Click Here for the Discrimination, Informal and Formal Grievances and The Equality Act (2010) chapter of the Women in Business Toolkit or find it on the Chamber website www.Birmingham-Chamber.com/WIBToolkit)

A series of statements about the kind of working environment your organisation hopes to create and the types of behaviour that are not acceptable, both in the workplace and at work functions. e.g. We wish to create an environment in which all colleagues treat each other with respect and understanding, both in work and at


work related events. We will not tolerate incidents of harassment , bullying, discrimination or other behaviours designed to make other members of staff feel uncomfortable. 

More detail about how this policy will be put into action, such as how you will handle any breaches of the policy by employees, your complaints and grievances procedure and how these complaints will be handled based on whether they come from customers, employees, partner businesses or others. To find out more about informal and formal grievances click here for the Discrimination, Informal and Formal Grievances and The Equality Act (2010) chapter of the Women in Business Toolkit or find it on the Chamber website www.Birmingham-Chamber.com/WIBToolkit.

Who holds overall responsibility for implementing the policy, how you will monitor it and when it will next be reviewed.

To make sure that your Diversity Policy makes an impact we recommend taking the following steps:     

Keep your staff involved and consult when deciding what to include in the policy. Secure a clear commitment to the policy from the top of your organisation. Ensure the policy is explained to all staff and that they understand and agree to its principals. Offer training to staff to help them implement the policy and understand how it effects them. Put together an action plan or Diversity Strategy to support the implementation of the ideas and values expressed in your diversity policy.


WHAT IS A DIVERSITY STRATEGY? Where a diversity policy sets out what your organisation’s approach to equality and diversity is, a diversity strategy sets out how your organisation is going to make it happen. It features the activities and policies your organisation is going to implement and key targets or aims concerning the workforce over a given period of time. When writing a diversity strategy employers should consider what they will need to do to improve their working environment. This could include:    

Introducing new policies (e.g. flexible working, occupational maternity/paternity/adoption pay) Offering training to the workforce (e.g. unconscious bias training) Offering more opportunities for staff wanting additional support with the personal or professional development (e.g. mentoring) Actively seeking to encourage a diverse workforce (e.g. through altering recruitment procedures.)

This strategy should be inter-woven with the overall business strategy for the organisation in order to ensure that it is implemented to its fullest extent. To measure whether a diversity strategy is having a positive effect, employers may want to consider tracking progress against Key Performance Indicators such as:    

Employee satisfaction in the workplace. The gender/race/religious etc makeup of new recruits to the organisation. The gender/race/religious etc makeup of new promotions in the organisation. The return to work rate of mothers on maternity leave.


HOW CAN I ASK FOR THEM? Many employers offer some form of diversity policy and/or strategy. They do not have to offer it, is still a best practice activity rather than a legal requirement. However, many will consider implementing a diversity policy and/or strategy if you can make a good case for why they should.

To begin, have a chat with your line manager or the relevant member of staff about wanting to diversity policies and strategies. There may already be one in place that you were not aware of or one in the past that has now lapsed. If your employer needs some convincing you may want to offer to put together a business case for why they should consider implementing a diversity policy and strategy.

A business case is a formal, written document designed to encourage a decision maker to take a particular course of action. For more information on how to write a business case and some useful statistics, key lines of argument and case studies you can include please click here or see the ‘How to Construct a Business Case and Useful Statistics’ Chapter of the Women in Business Toolkit on the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce website www.Birmingham-Chamber.com


JARGON BUSTER: DISCRIMINATION Treating someone less favourably than others because of a protected characteristic (e.g. they are disabled) DIVERSITY POLICY A diversity policy is a statement of your organisation’s commitment to promoting Diversity. It sets out what they expect from the workforce and working environment and what employees can do if they feel discriminated against. DIVERSITY STRATEGY A diversity strategy is the series of activities, new policies or other initiatives and organisation is going to implement to ensure the success of their diversity policy. GRIEVANCE Raising a complaint within your organisation using official channels. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR Key Performance Indicators, also known as KPI or Key Success Indicators (KSI), measure specific aspects of an activity (e.g. customer satisfaction, queries responded to in under 48 hours) usually over a set period of time. They help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals.


USEFUL LINKS: ACAS: Delivering Equality and Diversity http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/l/e/ Acas_Delivering_Equality_and_Diversity_(Nov_11)-accessible-versionApr-2012.pdf This document offers detailed advice and guidance for employers on what to put in a diversity policy and how to monitor how well it is working. EHRC: How to Tackle Discrimination and Promote Equality http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/before-theequality-act/guidance-for-employers-pre-october-10/how-to-tacklediscrimination-and-promote-equality/ This section of the EHRC website contains a step by step guide to setting up, implementing and reviewing a diversity policy and strategy, including information on how to handle complaints in your organisation. It also includes lots of signposting for further information.


SOURCE OF STATISTICS


Just over

Just over

Workplaces are covered by a formal diversity policy

Workplaces have a diversity strategy in place

Amongst workplaces with a written diversity or equal opportunities policy:

Referred to disability

Referred to age

Referred to sexual orientation Referred to race or gender

Referred to religion or belief

Vanrooy, Bewley, Bryson et al (2011) The 2011 Workplace Employment Relations Study


THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS TOOLKIT: WE NEED YOU

We want to make sure that the Women in Business Toolkit stays as up to date and relevant as possible. To do this we need your support: Are there any chapters that you think are missing? Do you have experience of any of the topics included in the toolkit? Could you offer a case study? If the answer is yes to any of the above please get in touch using the contact details on the back of this document. We look forward to hearing from you.


The Women in Business Toolkit was Developed in Partnership with:

ABOUT EUROPE DIRECT: The Europe Direct Information Centres network is one of the main tools of the European Union (EU) to inform European citizens about the EU, and in particular about the rights of EU citizens and the EU’s priorities (notably the Europe 2020 Growth Strategy) and to promote participatory citizenship at local and regional level. The overall aim of the call is that citizens have easy access to information and the opportunity to make known and exchange their views, in all the fields of the EU’s activities, in particular, of those having an impact upon people's daily lives. The centres' mission is two-fold: 1. To inform European citizens at local and regional level. They are a key partner of the "one-stop-shop" concept as a first entry point to the European Union for citizens, providing information about the EU, referring them to Your Europe or to specialised information sources and signposting to other services and networks. They give information, advice, assistance and answers to questions about the EU, and in particular about the rights of EU citizens, the EU’s priorities (notably the Europe 2020 Growth strategy), legislation, policies,


programmes and funding opportunities. 2. To promote participatory citizenship This is achieved through various communication tools (website, social media, publications, etc.) and by interacting with local and regional stakeholders, multipliers and media. They stimulate debate through the organisation of conferences and events and channel citizens' feedback to the EU. The EDIC will provide a grassroots service tailored to local and regional needs, which will enable the public to obtain information, advice, assistance and answers to questions about the EU, and in particular about the rights of EU citizens, the EU’s priorities (notably the Europe 2020 Growth strategy), legislation, policies, programmes and funding opportunities.

ABOUT EUROPE DIRECT BIRMINGHAM: Europe Direct Birmingham, part of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce’s international trade team is a network that extends across the twenty-eight member states and is designed to be the authoritative source of information on Europe and EU initiatives from the citizen’s perspective. So rather than deal with Trade and Single Market issues, Europe Direct Birmingham is a mine of information regarding rights, opportunities, freedom of movement and employment, language, culture and all the bits and pieces that make up the individual countries under the European umbrella. Europe Direct has access to a considerable number of publications – hard and soft copies – with particular emphasis on schools, young people and mobility and we encourage and support events and initiatives that engage in Europe-themed activity. For more information call Amerdeep Mangat on 0121 607 0105


FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Henrietta Brealey, Policy Advisor Chamber House 75 Harborne Road Birmingham B15 3DH H.Brealey@Birmingham-Chamber.com 0121 607 1786


Women in Business Toolkit: Diversity Policies and Strategies