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7 topics to strengthen your diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging efforts

Breaking down barriers and inclusivity are words used to describe how businesses make their people feel included in the workplace, regardless of their differences.

Creating an equitable and inclusive environment isn’t just for large corporations. People face discrimination at work, no matter how small or large their organisation is. 

Considering employers spend time driving their diversity, equality, inclusion, and belonging (DEI&B) strategies, some organisations struggle to maintain a diverse workforce and make their people feel valued and included.  


Because the disparity between an employer's expectations and an employee's is vast. Differences affecting how people feel, think, and behave can seriously impact employee well-being, performance, and productivity. 

This article will focus on seven DEI&B topics to help you create an inclusive workplace. Discover why DEI&B is business critical and strengthen efforts so they remain worthwhile and effective. 

What is DEI&B?

DEI&B is a continual journey. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach that starts and ends with a policy in place. 

Having an inclusive environment doesn’t need to cost the Earth either. Small, simple changes can make a big difference– for your and your employees. 

First up. Let us simplify the definitions for you.

  • Diversity refers to how people differ. Characteristics like physical appearance, sexual preference, or age make people individual. Diversity is about embracing multiple identities within an organisation. 
  • Equity describes fair and impartial practices by considering people's needs and giving them the support they need to succeed. For example, implementing flexible working policies will support employees with caring responsibilities enabling them to apply for promotion.
  • Inclusion is about empowering employees to bring their authentic selves to work, helping everyone have their voice heard and respected–supporting people to share their ideas and contributions. Inclusion is about making everyone feel included by being sensitive to cultural differences.
  • Belonging represents how people connect with others—feeling accepted, included, and valued by the organization and peers. Employees with a good sense of belonging are true to themselves without worrying about being treated differently or unfairly. 

Successful DEI&B initiatives are those embedded throughout an organisation–authentically rooted in workplace culture.

Why SMBs Should Prioritise DEI&B Efforts

The United Kingdom has some of the highest levels of inequality in Europe. According to recent research by SME Loans, over 8 million employees in the UK feel they’ve been discriminated against because of their gender alone. 

SMBs have limited resources and ever-changing priorities–making DEI&B efforts increasingly challenging.

As stated in a report by McKinsey & Company 70% of business leaders said they have aspirations to transform DEI&B across their organisation, and just 46% believe they have the framework and resources to make it happen.

With some employees rolling their eyes every time diversity and inclusion are mentioned, it’s ambitious to change views from previous strategies that haven’t seen real change. 

Workplaces that focus real effort on DEI&B make their people feel important and valued and their differences celebrated. An equitable and inclusive environment can increase profitability and drive innovation– a win for employees and SMBs.

But how easy is it to tackle discrimination and support your workforce to bring their best selves to work? 

Challenge individual beliefs with solution-focused plans that tackle discrimination by:

  1. Developing a robust DEI&B strategy that involves everyone–employees, stakeholders, business leaders, and customers
  2. Exploring organizational accountability for DEI&B by defining roles, goals, and the metrics for success (more on that later) 
  3. Making clear standard definitions, appropriate use of language, and abbreviations of DEI&B terms, for example, BME (Black and Minority Ethnic)
  4. Keeping up to date with the latest HR law and legislation, such as the Equality Act 2010 

Protect the SMB you have built and leverage DEI&B initiatives to thrive, now and in the future.   

Review your existing DEI&B topics

We all tend to discriminate, even when it’s unintended. Tackle unconscious bias by taking a step back and reviewing your thoughts. Stay aware of what influences your thinking, and challenge your reactions and decisions. 

Workplace practices can empower, discourage, understand, insult, show prejudice, or challenge.

Establish a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment by strengthening efforts with these seven DEI&B topics.

1. Socio-econonmic Diversity

By focussing on upskilling and advocacy, community development, and internal programmes like recruitment and retention, PwC UK has a five-year plan to help people from all backgrounds thrive at work.

Through offering initiatives like paid work experience, volunteering opportunities, and technology apprenticeships, PwC UK empowers people from disadvantaged backgrounds to be part of an inclusive, supportive organisation–raising aspirations and maximizing individual potential.

Appogee HR Success can help improve your socio-economic diversity attempts. Find out whether your people data reflect socio-economic differences. Identify strengths and weaknesses in your organisation with robust HR Insights. Analyze the socio-economic factors, like qualification levels, educational background, or where employees live. 

Do the majority of your employees live in more-affluent or disadvantaged communities? How many people have a university degree?


Consider strategies to improve socioeconomic diversity, such as offering relationship-building workshops or organizing formal and informal recruitment events to reach disadvantaged communities.

2. Gender Diversity

Europe has the second-highest level of gender parity, currently standing at 76.6%, according to a 2022 Global Gender Gap Report. 

Let’s take women in leadership roles. The latest Women in the Workplace 2022 report highlights the increasing importance to women leaders that they work for businesses that prioritize employee well-being, flexibility, and DEI&B. 

Although the share of women in leadership roles has been increasing over time, there’s room for improvement, particularly in the energy, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors.


Remove gender biases from your job descriptions using gender-neutral language, such as person, rather than man or woman.

Attending an interview with a panel of all men or women can feel intimidating. Make sure you have a diverse recruitment panel. Candidates will likely feel more comfortable during an interview by having diverse representation instead of feeling like the odd one out.

3. Age Diversity

Did you know that the number of people over 50s in work has increased by 36% in the last 20 years? And by 2030, 47% of all over 50s are predicted to be part of the UK labour force.

Embrace all age groups of employees across your workforce. Prevent unfair treatment of people because of their age, such as:

  • Not offering a promotion to a 19-year-old simply because of their age and the likelihood of moving on to another job
  • Not allowing older people access to training for career progression
  • Explicitly asking for candidates under 25 years only to apply for a vacant position because you are a young and forward-thinking business

Promote an age-inclusive environment by eliminating the date of birth of candidates from your application process for hiring new people. A negative attitude towards others, often called social bias, can lead to making unfair judgments about people. 

Include age bias in your DEI&B training programmes. Help your people understand the impact of age discrimination and share best practices.

Review your DEI&B policy to include age discrimination. Consult with older employees to find out their views on company practice. Communicate how your organisation protects all employees, regardless of age, across your website, social media, and internal processes.

4. Pay equality

When was the last time you carried out a pay equity analysis? 

Organisations that regularly audit compensation can increase workplace transparency. Pay equality keeps employees engaged, attracts new talent, and reduces the potential for discrimination cases.

Check salary levels regularly to make sure it is fair. People who perform the same or similar roles should receive equal pay. Essentially, everyone deserves equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. 

Let’s take clerical and administrative staff, for example. As these roles are comparable, they should be paid relatively equally if one was performed by a male and the other by a female, providing both have the same experience and level of education. 

Employee profiles from Appogee HR Essentials give instant access to information such as gender, pay, and benefits. 

Plus, our advanced HR software package helps you conduct performance reviews with customizable templates that create consistency across your business–ensuring pay increases are evidenced fairly and transparently.

Next, share the results of the pay equity analysis with your people. Explain what action you are taking to tackle any pay disparity (while maintaining confidentiality).

Finally, embed pay transparency in all future job advertisements by openly sharing the salary and benefits.

5. Disability Diversity

Disability is “a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.” It covers physical and mental conditions.

Businesses that do not embrace a diverse workforce and employ people with disabilities can suffer a loss of reputation and hefty penalties. With workplace discrimination in the UK costing companies upwards of £280,000 per case, employers must proactively hire and retain a diverse workforce.

Besides complying with employment law and avoiding employment tribunals, having people with disabilities on your team, whether visible or invisible, sends an important message about your company’s values.

Strengthen your disability diversity efforts and tap into a vast talent pool by:

  • Removing any barriers that stop a person from working independently, for example, travelling to and from their work base or making adaptations such as ramps for someone who uses a wheelchair and hearing loops for anyone hard of hearing
  • Eliminating stereotypical language from policies and procedures. Use language like “living with” rather than “suffering from.”
  • Allowing new and existing employees to feel safe and included so they are willing to disclose their disability
  • Staying mindful of inclusivity. When referring to a specific disability, use the condition's name, like Parkinson's disease or Cerebral palsy. If you’re not sure how to talk about someone in a way that is respectful, ask them
  • Improving disability awareness building through recruitment efforts, training programmes, team building, and inclusive initiatives, like employee resource groups

6. Religion Diversity

Most people are reasonably comfortable discussing diversity topics like age, gender, or disability. However, people are less comfortable talking about religion in the workplace.

Since senior leaders drive opportunities for positive change, role-modeling best practices by creating an inclusive company culture that genuinely accepts people from different religions. 

That said, leading multicultural teams doesn’t have to be challenging. Use HR Reporting tools to create insightful reports about the religious background of your people. You may find a more significant proportion of employees have the same religion than you think–allowing you to tailor future events that meet their needs.  

Demonstrate that unique backgrounds are considered strengths rather than obstacles to overcome. Religion can connect people, making new hires, for example, feel comfortable.

Educate yourself and your teams by building cultural competence. Show respect and empathy for people with different religious backgrounds by taking a genuine interest in learning more about their faith. 

7. Neurodiversity

Everyone has unique strengths, challenges, and how they think, behave, and learn. Neurodiversity describes these differences in brain function that affect daily operations.

Neurodivergent people with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Autism, or Dyslexia, for example, have an array of specialist skills that SMBs can benefit from. 

Create a workplace that supports neurodiverse people by increasing the confidence of someone with ADHD or Autism and offering a mentor or buddy. 

Secondly, review how your organisation communicates with its workforce. Since people with dyslexia find it difficult to recognise, spell, and decode words, simplify how you share information with people by using simple and jargon-free information on your company newsfeed.

Let’s take M-KOPA, a globally connected asset financing platform with an employee count of just over 1500.  As their workforce is Microsoft 365 users, M-KOPA implemented Appogee Leave to make life easier for all employees to access information without the need to remember different usernames and passwords. Employees simply log in with the same credentials as their emails.

  • “We needed something to initially service our 900 employees that was easy to use and navigate.” –Anne Mwicigi, HR Shared Services Manager at M-KOPA

Thirdly, company document management features can hold all your essential company documents and policies in one central location–simplifying processes and saving time searching for the information you need. 

Finally, embrace neurodiversity by reviewing your hiring processes. Reduce stress during the interview stage by reducing potential friction points in the hiring process. Meet candidates before their interview to allow people to ask questions and feel comfortable. 

Train recruiting managers on how neurodiversity behaviours. Penalising a lack of eye contact or unconventional body language at an interview, for example, should never discriminate against a neurodivergent candidate from being successful. 

Measure your DEI&B efforts

Track DEI&B actions to identify which strategies are most successful and which need additional resources.

Comprehensive HR analytics give HR leaders and business managers a better understanding of DEI&B challenges–allowing real progress from targeted interventions.

Measure your DEI&B efforts by analysing metrics about:

  • Employee turnover
  • Demographics across organization levels, such as ethnicity, gender, and disability
  • Retention across particular employee groups and teams
  • Equal pay and pay equity
  • Candidate demographics during the hiring process
  • Employee promotion rates
  • Participation levels DEI&B training programmes
  • Initiative-focused DEI metrics, like attendance in employee focus groups

Create an effective DEI&B strategy

Everyone must play their part in creating a diverse and inclusive workforce and create a company culture that genuinely reflects the world we live in.

Eliminate social bias and proactively approach DEI&B inclusion with the seven topics listed here.  Make your workplace safer and more inclusive, regardless of differences. 

Create a robust strategy that sustains positive changes in employee behaviour, attitudes, and workplace practices.

Our friendly experts can guide you through our leading HR solutions to help strengthen your DEI&B efforts. Request a tailored demonstration at a time convenient to you.

Alternatively, why not try Appogee HR, free for 14 days? You won’t be disappointed.