What is Inclusivity?
Inclusivity is the act of not excluding any member of society because of differences such as social background, gender and disability. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly in the workplace, and no one should be discriminated against. Inclusivity ensures that.
What is Diversity?
Diversity is the state of having a wide variety of people from different backgrounds working together in harmony. It ensures inclusivity in the workforce; that all people are accommodated, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds.
There are many positive effects that diversity has on the business, its employees and other stakeholders. To learn more about the advantages of a diverse workforce, you can read this article: What Are the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace?
Examples of Workplace Diversity Issues in South Africa
South African businesses strive for diversity and inclusivity. To achieve this, they follow the guidance of policies such as the Employment Equity Act (EEA) and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (BBBEE).
Below is a list of diversity issues that South African businesses have to deal with.
- Religion or Faith
How to Deal with Diversity Issues in the Workplace
A truly inclusive workforce learns to break down prejudices and embrace each other’s uniqueness. To achieve inclusivity, businesses must effectively address diversity issues in the workplace. Here a are few ways in which businesses can deal with such issues.
Gender or Inequality
- Males and females should be given equal employment opportunities.
- Men and women should be given equal opportunities to be promoted to management positions.
- Businesses should deal effectively with sexual harassment cases.
- Men and women who fill the same positions should receive equal wages or salaries.
- Employers can set targets for gender equity in the business.
- Women should be employed, in order to comply with the Employment Equity Act (EEA).
- Businesses should implement affirmative action policies as required by the law.
- No one should be discriminated against because of their skin colour.
- Businesses should employ people from different race groups.
- Employers should comply with the EEA and BBBEE when appointing staff.
- When hiring new staff, give preferential treatment to people from previously disadvantaged groups.
- All business contracts should be in a language that is easy to understand and should be made available in the language of choice for the signing parties.
- Businesses can specify that all communication should be done in one particular language and expect all its employees to have a certain level of fluency in that language.
- No employee should feel excluded because of meetings that are only held in one language.
- Where necessary, hire an interpreter, to make sure that everyone understands what is being said at meetings.
- Provide training in the official language of business, so that all employees have a chance to become more fluent in it.
- Businesses may not employ children who are aged 15 years or younger.
- Young employees must be advised to respect and learn from older employees.
- Employees should be promoted according to their skill sets and not their age.
- The ages of permanent employees should vary from 18 to 65, in order to include all age groups.
- A business may employ someone above the age of retirement if they are the most suitable for the position.
- Employment opportunities should be provided for people with disabilities.
- Buildings should accommodate people with disabilities by providing facilities such as ramps for wheelchairs.
- Businesses must make sure that workers with disabilities are treated fairly.
- Ensure that employees with disabilities do not feel excluded from workplace activities.
- All employees should be trained to deal with colleagues who have special needs.
Culture, Religion or Faith
- Employees should be encouraged to participate in cultural activities so that they can learn more about other cultures.
- Employees should be allowed to share problem-solving ideas from their own cultural perspectives.
- Companies should employ people from different cultural backgrounds.
- Businesses must respect the cultural differences of employees.
- Office canteens should accommodate different cultures by catering for the special food needs of employees.
- Employ people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
- Businesses should train all employees so that they will be able to deal with retrenchment.
- Train some unemployed people in the community as a part of the company’s CSI projects.
- Offer subsidised meals at office canteens, so that everyone has something to eat during working hours.
- Businesses should supply free uniform to employees for safety purposes.
- Employers must encourage workers to learn new skills from more qualified colleagues.
- Businesses should offer learnerships to employees who do not have a formal educational qualification.
- Businesses should offer bursaries to their employees to encourage them to further their studies.
- Employees should be encouraged to take new courses to improve their skills.
- Use grants received from SETAs to offer ABET (Adult Basic Education and Training) programmes to employees without basic education, so that they can also have a chance to be educated.
Are you confident about what you have learned? Would you be able to advise a business on how to address diversity issues in the workforce? Download these quiz cards and test yourself. Share them with your friends and use them to prepare for your Business Studies NSC exam.
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1. Suggest ways of addressing race and poverty issues in the workplace.
2. Advise businesses on how to address issues of inequality in the workplace.
3. Explain how businesses could deal with the following diversity issues: language, educational background.
4. Advise on ways to address age and disability issues in the workforce.
5. Recommend THREE ways in which companies should deal with culture as a workplace diversity issue.