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Facilitating a diverse workplace is more than just creating equal opportunities. It's about raising awareness in your employees, acknowledging and embracing cultural differences and creating fair work policies that reflect this. A diversity policy is just one cornerstone document that a company should implement to promote a workplace that caters for all employees.
Here, we take a look at how to write one for your business.
What is a Diversity Policy?
A diversity policy is an integral part of your business' employment policies. It outlines the processes and procedures your company has in place to promote and encourage a workplace of diversity and inclusion. It can demonstrate how your workplace is one where all individuals can participate and thrive no matter what their gender, age, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, disability or marital status.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a Diversity Policy?
It's good practice to establish and implement a diversity policy as soon as possible. You can then use it to induct new employees and to educate existing employees about good workplace practice. If you have an employee handbook, make sure you include your diversity policy in this and always have a copy available whenever staff may want to read it.
Diversity Policy vs Equal Opportunities Policy
A diversity policy and an equal opportunities policy are both used to promote fairness and equality in the workplace. While both documents allow companies to show their commitment to inclusion in the workplace, these policies cover subtly different things.
An equal opportunities policy emphasises a company's ability to comply with Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) obligations, whereas a diversity policy covers a broader spectrum of things. As these policies tend to overlap significantly, some businesses choose to combine both into one document.
What does a Diversity Policy include?
Your diversity policy and procedures should reflect your business and the industry it works in. All policies should make sure that they address the following:
- Benefits of a diverse workplace.
- Processes in place to promote, manage and monitor diversity.
- Measures that combat discrimination in the workplace.
- How the company manages and resolves issues that arise in the workplace.
How effective is a Diversity Policy?
Building a diverse workplace is more than just writing the policy. It has to be implemented throughout the company and adopted as one of its core values. You can also use other inclusive policies alongside a diversity policy to echo the message throughout your business. These include:
It's also essential to go through other core policies to make sure they are inclusive of all staff. For example, does your holiday policy allow religious staff to take certain holidays off work? Does your code of conduct address your company's approach towards diversity?
It's important to continually have these documents under review to see how they can be improved to be more inclusive of your employees.
Do I need to use a lawyer?
Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic and something that needs to be dealt with correctly. While you can attempt to write up a cultural diversity policy yourself, it's worth seeking the help of a lawyer, if only to look over your drafted document.
A lawyer can also advise you on the latest workplace legislation. There are several laws in place that regulate diversity and equal employment in the workplace, so your policy must adhere to these laws. Just a few to take note of include the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and discrimination acts that cover discrimination based on age, sex, disability or race.
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How do I write a Diversity Policy?
A well-written diversity policy should outline what a diverse workplace means to the company and how the said company intends to promote this diversity now and in the future. To ensure your policy covers all of the necessary sections, consider breaking it up into the following sections:
Purpose and scope
The first section of your policy should include a brief explanation of the reason why you are creating the policy and who it applies to. In this case, it is usually anyone who works with or is associated with your company.
Here, you should provide a list of keywords and terms used throughout the document and their definitions. This will ensure that there is no ambiguity when it comes to understanding the document.
Explain to the reader what your company is trying to achieve by implementing this policy. It's often useful here to write a series of goals with specific aims.
Application of the policy
Perhaps the largest section of your diversity policy, this should cover what your company is doing to promote and maintain diversity in the workplace. It can also address who is responsible in the company for sustaining the company objectives.
Monitoring and reviewing
Explain how your company intends to monitor diversity in the workplace and how often this policy will be reviewed and updated.Back to top
Frequently asked questions
Where can I get free legal documents and templates?
There are plenty of online resources that provide legal templates such as a diversity policy. Some of them will allow you to browse the template for free, but you might need to pay a one-time fee to customise and download it.
- Lawpath. Part of a new wave of online legal resources that offers users hundreds of templates to choose from. You'll need to sign up for an account to access customisation options, but your first template is free to edit.
- LegalVision. Signing up to Legal Vision's subscription service will give you access to unlimited legal templates, including a referral agreement.
- Government Resources. Plenty of state-specific government websites provide free legal templates, including a diversity policy.
What is the purpose of a diversity policy?
The main aim of a diversity policy is to encourage equal and inclusive opportunities in the company. This starts from the initial hiring process right through to promotions, training and everyday opportunities. Having a more diverse workforce gives your company a broader global outlook and they are even known to harbour innovation and creativity on a higher level.
Why is a diversity policy necessary?
Introducing a diversity policy is not just about promoting fairness and equality in the workplace and bettering your global reputation. It is thought that a diverse and inclusive workforce brings added benefits such as better employee performance, a worldwide perspective and increased creativity.
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