Equal employment opportunity, affirmative action and diversity add up to true equality in the workplace. They’re like the three legs of a very important stool: Unless each one is strong, the entire structure will crumble. As an employer, you need to ensure that you’re doing the right thing – which includes full compliance with legal requirements and standards – when it comes to all of them.
- The principle behind equal employment opportunity, or EEO, is that everyone has the same access to opportunities in the workplace. EEO refers to employment practices that ensure nondiscrimination based on race/ethnicity, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental ability, religion, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information, veteran status or age.
- Affirmative action is one aspect of the federal government’s efforts to ensure EEO for minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. It encompasses good faith efforts to remedy any shortcomings, diverse outreach when recruiting, and fair evaluation of all job candidates.
- Embracing diversity means fostering a work environment that maximizes the potential of all employees by valuing diversity. Diversity refers to human qualities that are different from our own and those of groups to which we typically belong, but are manifested in others. Dimensions of diversity include age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities and qualities, race, sexual orientation, educational background, geographic location, income, marital or partner status, military experience, parental status, religious beliefs, work experience and job classification.
Best Practices to Adopt
Equality in your workplace is characterized by a diverse, productive workforce and an inclusive environment where all employees are valued. It makes for a level playing field for every individual to succeed. To ensure you’re meeting all related standards, here are some best practices to follow:
- Educate everyone in your organization. Familiarize every executive, manager and employee with your company’s EEO policy. Provide regular training and updates, including relevant content in company media.
- Continuously expand your diversity recruitment resources. Maintain an active database. Build relationships with local veteran halls, minority and female groups, and military and disability organizations.
- Compile a recruitment folder on your computer for each job opportunity. It could potentially include a position requisition form, a job description, all advertisements placed, applicant flow logs to show who has applied and their EEO information, all resumes and applications received and correspondence between HR/EEO and your hiring manager, and other resources and interview notes. This will be a one-stop shop for all positions for which you are recruiting. It also will provide easy access to auditors if requested.
For close to three decades, HR Works has supported businesses in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. We provide total talent management solutions, including unparalleled EEO and affirmative action expertise. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for your company.
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