Providing equal opportunities to all employees (regardless of race, gender, disability status, etc.) is an impactful first step when working to create a more inclusive and supportive culture in the workplace. BUT something that is often left out is the concept of equity — providing more opportunity to those who are disadvantaged or perhaps who have even fallen subject to decades of systemic oppression.
Only through keeping both concepts in mind will you be able to create the most supportive workplace for all of your employees.
Consider the following practices that enable both equity and equality in areas you may not realize sometimes provide inequitable opportunities:
1. Creating an understanding workplace
This looks like: ahead-of-time or alternative shift scheduling, flexible scheduling, reduced hours, remote work, mental health days
2. Benefits/Paid Time-Off
This looks like: childcare, employee assistance program (EAP), housing assistance, transportation, paid parental leave, emergency leave, paid time-off bank.
3. Professional development programming
This looks like: college loan assistance or reimbursement, conference opportunities, external and/or internal coaching, learning subscription stipend, mentorship program, individual development plans, serving on boards, succession planning
4. Formalized financial wellness practices
Like but not limited to: emergency fund (forgivable loans or grants), employers savings match program, financial education, profit-sharing, stock options, student loan assistance
5. Providing equitable wages
i.e. increasing % of employees paid at least a living wage, increasing lowest-paid hourly worker wage, decreasing the ratio of highest to a lowest-paid full-time worker
6. Health insurance program
Who is included: Individual, Individual and spouse, Individual and family
Covered Costs: Partially funded, Fully funded
7. Supportive employment opportunities
Like but not limited to: formerly incarcerated, low income, persons in recovery, persons with a mental or physical disability, refugees
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