Almost a third (32%) of companies have said they have no system that offers individual employees the possibility to report discrimination.

While an encouraging 68 percent of UK companies are committed to removing unconscious bias from the recruitment process, many are still falling short in implementing a systematic reporting system that tracks against solid ED&I objectives.

As last Saturday (May 21st) marks World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, new research from HR & payroll leader SD Worx highlights a lack of focus on progressing diversity in the workplace.

“It’s no longer enough for businesses to say they prioritise diversity and inclusion. Instead, they must prove their commitment to achieving a more diverse workforce, both internally within their business and externally to attract talent,” says UK HR Country Lead at SD Work, Colette Philp.

 

Commitment to equality

According to the SD Worx research, the UK ranks 3rd in its commitment to removing unconscious bias in the workplace (68%), behind Ireland which ranks in 1st place (74%) and Belgium in 2nd (69%).

When it comes to equal access to training, the UK ranks slightly lower than other countries with an average of 64 percent of companies saying they invest in equal access to training and development opportunities.

Ireland, Belgium, and Poland took the top spots (72%, 71% and 69% respectively).

While most UK companies also include this in their mission statement and corporate values (64%), it is slightly less likely to feature in recruitment activities, with only 3 in 5 (60%) UK companies surveyed saying they promote ED&I in job advertisements (58%), social media (52%) and their website (59%).

Clearly, there is more work to be done on transparency about ED&I goals and actions in pursuit of attracting a diverse workforce.

 

A lack of action

Despite managers’ efforts there is still a lack of clearly defined action in systematic follow-ups, such as a transparent reporting system.

This applies, for example, to the evaluation of the commitment of managers to achieve the proposed diversity goals.

Only 26 percent of UK companies surveyed scored that they ‘very much’ provide an evaluation of the commitment of managers to achieve ED&I related objectives.

Also, almost a third (32%) said they have no system that offers individual employees the possibility to report discrimination.

 

What should employers and managers be doing?

“There is more awareness than ever before regarding diversity in the workplace and it’s a deciding factor for many when it comes to searching for a role or staying with a business. A diverse workforce brings new experiences and perspectives and an inclusive environment allows individuals to thrive. If businesses aren’t already putting ED&I as a top priority, it’s essential they act now to do so,” says Ms Philip.

“It’s important that companies start investing in an active reporting system about their actions concerning diversity, equality and inclusion. On the one hand, that data offers a strong basis for optimising the diversity policy with concrete and consciously controlled actions. On the other hand, such a system also provides clear evidence whether companies are effectively putting their money where their mouth is and not making false promises to (future) employees,” suggests Portfolio Manager SD Worx Insights, Jurgen Dejonghe.