In an effort to gain more fundamental insights surrounding equity in the workplace, Boston College School of Social Work and our partners at SHRM, (the largest global membership organization of HR practitioners), recently conducted the National Study of Workplace Equity.
Introduced as one of the first of its kind, the study aimed to understand the state of equity in workplaces throughout the United States by using a representative sample of 1,062 workplaces across the country.
At Kantola, we believe that for a culture to be healthy, all employees should feel like their work is important, that they are being treated fairly, and that they are well supported and have what they need to progress within the organization.
Because organizations can have a diverse culture and it can even be inclusive, but if people don’t feel like it’s fair from their perspective, then the whole DEI effort will crumble. And equity doesn’t just belong to one group or another. Equity applies to everyone within the company.
This study defines equity in the workplace as “the fairness of organizational systems and the absence of systematic and persistent disparities in the opportunities and resources available to employees, regardless of their demographic and social identities.”
Through their findings, they aimed to provide organizations with a framework and detailed roadmap to address inequities that could help their workplaces thrive. Let’s take a look at some of their key takeaways.
- Recruitment and Hiring System (mean score 3.03 on 4-point scale)
- Compensation and Benefits System (mean score 3.02 on 4-point scale)
- Orientation and Onboarding System (mean score 3.00 on 4-point scale)
- Supervision and Mentoring System (mean score 2.59 on a 4-point scale)
- Job Structures System (mean score 2.55 on a 4-point scale)
- Resources and Supports System (mean score 2.46 on a 4-point scale)
Combining scores across numerous employment systems like the ones displayed above, authors then created the Employment Systems Equity Index. The index found a direct relationship between overall equity in organizations’ HR systems and organizational resilience. In other words, organizations with higher equity indicators also surveyed that over the past two years, they have been able to respond to new workplace models with agility and innovation.
Scores found within the equity of the Job Structures System was directly associated with the extent of stress experienced by employees during the previous two years. For example:
- Organizations reporting more employee stressors were more likely to have lower scores on the Equity of Job Structures System Index.
- Organizations with more employee access to flexible job structures also had more equitable Job Structures Systems, suggesting that employers might want to consider how strengthening access to flexible job structures might impact the equity of the Job Structures System (and vice versa).
Ultimately the study revealed direct relationships between more equitable workplaces and what they call “7 Levers for Change: policies, practices, planning and evaluation, roles and accountabilities, culture, climate, and communication.”
At Kantola, we believe that when organizations demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion through equity, they will ultimately have the best chance for attracting and retaining new talent—and building a more collaborative, innovative, and resilient organization in the years to come.