Workplace equality is a subject we’re all concerned about. it is that topic that you sometimes want to talk about but you don’t want to step on anybody’s ego so you keep shut. The process of becoming an employee can be exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking. One moment you’re writing cover letters, the next you are rushing to a job interview, and congratulations, you’re hired.
The pre-employment struggles are over. Now your work and workplace have a different set of challenges, workplace equality being one of them. You’re first ignored as the ‘newbie’, then pushed around. Then you have to do a ton of everyone else’s work to “earn your place”. If you’re female, your troubles seem to be endless. If you’re disabled, you have to handle pitying looks or disgusted faces from colleagues and even employers. It is not a particularly palatable clime to equality -this country.
This is not the dream for you. This is not the goal. You did not imagine your workplace having these issues. Unfortunately, it is the norm. There has to be a better way to handle issues. For your workplace to be as productive as you imagined, there has to be ‘equality.’
When people talk about discrimination and equality, how exactly does it relate to the workplace? This is not only for the employer to participate in, it is also for the employee to take note.
Read on to find out.
What is equality?
Equality is the fair treatment of people regardless of gender, race, disability, region, or age. It simply means giving everyone equal opportunities to grow, develop and achieve their goals.
When all employees who are on the same level are equally exposed to the same opportunities and retreatment, we can say there is equality. Workers will be more motivated to do their jobs.
What is discrimination?
Equality doesn’t exist in any workplace that allows discrimination to exist. Discrimination in the workplace happens when employees/job candidates are treated unfavourably for whatever reason. Discrimination also extends beyond hiring and firing of the employee as there are other factors to consider.
Thus, a good example of discrimination is when a business pays workers in the same position differently based on age, gender or status. It could also happen when an employee is denied promotion and other work benefits. Or when the organization allows harassment and a culture of hostility towards certain employees.
Discrimination takes many forms and the most prevalent form is retaliation. It may surprise many people to know that harassment is also a form of discrimination. And as with discrimination, there are different types of harassment. This may include:
- Unwelcome behaviour by a coworker, client, boss, etc
- Offensive jokes
- Physical assault
Over time, the rate of discrimination and workplace inequality in Nigerian workplaces have become too much to ignore.
Workplace equality in Nigeria: Key issues and challenges
Nigeria is a country with a rich and complex history. With a population of over 200 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. And that massive population mass comes with its fair share of problems.
Since it is still a developing country and has yet to adopt progressive beliefs that leading countries practice, the workplace is not left out.
Inequality in the workplace has been an issue of concern globally for some time. Recently, it is becoming a topic we are getting used to in Nigeria. And we are happy to see that. Here, the most common causes of workplace inequality are issues of gender, nepotism, social status and sometimes religion.
Importance of Workplace equality
When a workplace is focused on equality, the right qualifications, experience, and knowledge are the only metrics for employment. This person is simply employed based on what they can do to move the organization forward.
Equality in the workplace is important to both employees and employers because;
It increases innovation
By giving equal opportunities to employees, they feel like they belong in the workplace which makes them put in their best. Their output increases and they are more innovative towards solving problems.
Equality encourages diverse opinions and perspectives
When given equal opportunities based on ability, all employees can come together in teams and bring up ideas from different perspectives. This always has a positive effect on the progress the organization has.
Every organization should get qualified people from different backgrounds with different experiences. The different perspectives always boost the business’ output.
It increases business revenue
Every business aims to make profits. The business becomes profitable when the company has a variety of people bringing diverse contributions to the table. The added advantage is that the business can always target a wider range of customers.
It creates a more productive work atmosphere
Equality in the workplace makes the employees feel accepted which boosts their performance. If an employee is happy about how they are treated at work, they have a better work-life balance which in turn increases productivity.
It is an opportunity to attract and keep the best workforce
When an organization’s recruiting system is based on diversity, more qualified people will want to join the company. And when they join, the workforce is full of diverse skills. This diversity opens the organization to potential new markets. More eyes are on the brand, and not only does it help get people, but it also helps keep the best on the job.
What to do in an unequal workplace?
Maintaining and ensuring equality in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a role to play. Your role is very vital to the process, as you’re a part of the workplace.
You can help out by treating everyone with respect, supporting those treated unfairly, and reporting the unfair treatment to the right authorities. It also helps to document the unfair treatment as proof in case you need to take legal action.
We at Street2Suit believe equality should be a top priority for employers as it is a determining factor for business success. This is why we ensure that we place our clients in workplaces that entrench the culture of equality.