5 tips for moving from Equality to Equity in your organisation

Equity is the E often found in the acronym DEIB – yet it is the least understood of the three. We all understand that diversity refers to the ways in which we are different, and inclusion to the felt experience of being valued for our uniqueness, but where do equity and equality fit in?

Equity is often used interchangeably with equality to refer to a sense of fairness. While both are important, these two words do not have the same meaning.

Equality, as the name suggests, is centred in fair access for all. The notion of fairness in equality is comfortable because while it may challenge the status quo, it does not necessarily drive systemic or deep-rooted change. Equality is important because it highlights the need to ensure that no-one is left out and if they are, to apply short term solutions to equal the playing field. For example, introducing blind recruiting to improve application rates for minority candidates.

Equity on the other hand goes deeper. It recognises the context in which the inequality exists and asks questions like...Who designed this process? What historical/contextual factors influence the outcomes? Who benefits the most from this process? And who is potentially disadvantaged in the process? If we apply an equity lens to the recruitment example, we would take a step back and ask whether the current end to end recruitment process is still fit for purpose!

Equity drives deeper change, because it requires a more strategic perspective on what's working and what isn't. It generally results in more systemic and impactful improvements to the current way of doing things. Putting an equity lens on organisational processes is also what gives us the biggest rewards, helps us to achieve our DEIB goals and objectives and exponentially improves business performance when done well.

Here are 5 tips that will help you move beyond equality to equity:

  1. Select a target area
    Identify an area in your organisation where you think inequity might be playing out. A good place to start is to look at your talent lifecycle – recruitment, performance management, succession planning, reward, career advancement etc.
  2. Review your current process
    Analyse the end-to-end process. Where are the potential bottlenecks, what is the data telling you, are you achieving the desired outcomes you’re looking for?
  3. Identify the key stakeholders involved
    What are their experiences, who is it working for, who is being left out and what are the unique needs of each of these groups?
  4. Co-design a better way forward
    When you understand that your current process is there by design, you also understand that it can be re-designed to be ’fit for purpose. How you design the way forward, is as important as what you design. Ensure that all your key stakeholders are co-designers of the new process, in particular those with the softest voices’ in the room. This will ensure that your new process is relevant, flexible, useful and meets the needs of all, not just a select few.
  5.  Implement and seek continuous feedback
    Equity has no end point, because your people, business goals and the context in which you operate are all continuously changing. This means that we need to take action and continuously adjust our approach, based on feedback. When you need to adapt, do so, ensuring that the changes centre the felt experience of your key stakeholders and meet the needs of those who interact with the process, not just for today, but into the future.

Reach out to us to chat about designing equity into your own organisation.

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