What is Workplace Equity?

| April 28, 2022 | 3 min read
What is workplace equity?

Pressure is building from all sides to disclose and report on pay gap and diversity metrics. Globally, legislation is increasing, with more requirements around both pay gap and pay equity disclosures. Investors, boards, and Wall Street are calling for more disclosures and transparency with ESG reporting and SEC human capital disclosures, and we’re seeing a rise in voluntary disclosures.

Your employees have the same high expectations: they’re leaving organizations that don’t share their values, and that don’t back up promises with action. Despite widespread investments in DE&I initiatives, only 18% of employees and 22% of HR leaders think they have a high fairness workplace, according to Gartner.

Most companies have had a hard time making headway on these outcomes, because you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Many organizations focus on anecdotal and qualitative assessments — rather than data — and analysis is often siloed between teams. One part of the organization may be focused on analyzing promotions, another on analyzing pay equity, another on diversity in leadership. And if you’re not approaching these outcomes from a holistic, data-driven perspective, progress will feel elusive.

This is why workplace equity is so critical.

Organizations that are most successful in achieving their goals are measuring and analyzing workplace equity from a holistic vantage point. They’re using robust data and analytics to find and fix the root cause of inequities — and they’re mapping those efforts directly to business goals.

So, how can you make progress in your organization? Let’s start by defining what workplace equity is.

 

What is workplace equity?

Workplace equity means unlocking opportunities for every employee by treating them equitably and without bias. This allows employees to achieve their highest potential within an organization, regardless of their gender, race, or other factors.

Workplace equity = equitable pay and treatment at every stage of employment
workplace equity in the employee journey
 

Workplace equity creates a virtuous cycle. When you hire, compensate, and advance people in an equitable way, you establish your organization as a fair workplace, which creates positive brand awareness and fuels subsequent recruiting and hiring.

 

What does workplace equity mean for your organization?

Success in workplace equity is driven by two things: equal pay for equal work and equal access to opportunities. To get these right, companies must ensure they’re hiring, compensating, supporting, and advancing employees based on what they have to offer — not their gender, race, or other factors. Equity is a measurement that can be applied to any and all stages of employment, compensation type, and access to opportunities.

Workplace equity is both the foundation of and roadmap to a data-driven DE&I program that works. If you’re not building and enforcing equitable hiring practices, you won’t be able to increase diversity in your workforce. And if you aren’t promoting people equitably into higher paying roles, your pay gap will continue to widen.

But once you turn your focus to equity and ensure your policies and practices are fair at every stage of the employee journey, that’s when you’ll start to gain traction — and create a diverse workforce where employees can feel valued and included.

Workplace equity helps you meet the increasing demands for tangible progress and transparency by providing a framework and methodology for identifying potential issues and starting points, tracking progress over time, and maintaining gains with ongoing monitoring:

  • By comprehensively measuring workplace equity, you can identify where you have gaps and problems — and prioritize them. 
  • By monitoring progress, you can surface the actions needed to achieve your goals. 
  • By updating your processes to include actionable data and real-time feedback around decisions, you can prevent and escalate issues before they take root.

 

How to achieve and sustain workplace equity

Our team of experts has created resources to help you build a meaningful workplace equity program, including a guide that details a step-by-step approach you can use to define success using data and insights, prioritize your biggest areas of opportunity, and make incremental progress on realistic goals.