by Chantel Musselman, People & Culture Coordinator
At Lakeland Networks, safety is our core and always comes first. Safety in the workplace incorporates making sure everyone feels included, and equal. Recently, our People & Culture Coordinator, Chantel, presented a training session, where employees were able to gain some great insight into what Diversity, Equity and Inclusion means and what that should look like in the workplace, and more specifically Lakeland’s. Please read further to know for yourself the importance of creating a safe space for all in the workplace, and in your daily interactions.
Diversity is the condition of having or being composed of different elements. Especially the inclusion of people of different races, cultures, etc. in a group or organization. Equity means to be just and give justice according to natural law or right. Specifically, freedom from bias or favouritism. It’s crucial to understand the difference between equality and equity.
Equality means that each individual is given the same resources or opportunities. Equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Inclusion is the act of being inclusive – and the state of being included. The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded, due to their race, gender, sexuality, or ability.
Ensuring equity and equality in the workplace is imperative to see as it brings greater innovation and creativity to the team, giving a team a “diverse voice” rather than “one voice”. In addition, hiring people from diverse backgrounds can enhance a business or team by bringing a wide range of skill and experience. Further, companies that promote an inclusive work environment tend to encompass a happier work environment, with employees or teammates who feel empowered. Lastly, having knowledge of different skill sets or approaches to problems can be enriching for a team, bringing greater opportunities for growth and success.
A great downfall lays in unconscious bias. Unconscious biases are unrealized biases that we attribute toward specific groups of people. Gender bias can occur when someone unconsciously associates certain stereotypes with different genders. Ageism bias occurs when one discriminates against others based on their age. Affinity bias refers to the tendency to favour people who share similar interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
Perception bias occurs when one judges or treats others based on often inaccurate, overly simplistic stereotypes and assumptions about the group they belong in. It is important to understand these biases so that we can recognize them and avoid them when interacting with others. These biases and stereotypes are socially constructed, arbitrary, prejudiced, discriminatory, and will deter an organization from achieving an inclusive culture. It is important to recognize personal privileges and use advantages not for personal gain but to empower minority groups who may not have a voice, allowing work environments to be diverse, inclusive, and equitable.