How Can Organizations Improve Workplace Equity?

diversity in the workplace shrm Feb 06, 2023

By Matt Gonzales SHRM

Many companies are enhancing their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. But too often, they place more emphasis on diversity and inclusion than they do on equity.

A new report by the SHRM Research Institute and Work Equity, an initiative of the Center for Social Innovation at the Boston College School of Social Work, revealed the importance of equity in the workplace, the root causes of inequity and other DE&I-related findings that could help organizations create more-equitable workplaces.

"Organizations often overlook workplace equity," said Ragan Decker, SHRM-CP, lead researcher with the SHRM Research Institute. "Yet without equity, DE&I initiatives can fail or even backfire."

The report, National Study of Workplace Equity, showed that discrimination continues to run rampant in the workplace. Among a representative sample of 1,062 U.S organizations, employees at about one-quarter of the companies have experienced gender bias (28 percent), racial bias (27 percent) or bias against older workers (26 percent) in the past two years.

About two-thirds of organizations (64 percent) said DE&I is important or very important, yet nearly the same percentage (62 percent) indicated that little or no resources have been devoted to DE&I efforts.

"A new approach is urgently needed to address and resolve the root causes of workplace inequity," said Kathleen Christensen, co-director of work equity and faculty fellow at Boston College's School of Social Work.

The researchers evaluated the equity of 10 different employment systems:

  • Job structures.
  • Recruitment and hiring.
  • Compensation and benefits.
  • Orientation and onboarding.
  • Supervision and mentoring.
  • Training and career development.
  • Performance assessment and feedback.
  • Employee resources and support.
  • Promotions.
  • Separations.

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