Firms failing to assess new equality policies

Most employers have policies to promote gender equality and diversity in
place but not enough are monitoring the effect of these on the organisation and
the workforce, according to research.

A study by Opportunity Now, a business-led campaign to help women realise
their potential at work, finds that 60 per cent of companies have introduced
formal gender equality and diversity policies and two thirds of organisations
have top level gender champions in place.

But the research also reveals that only 18 per cent of employers assess the
impact of their gender equality policies on organisational results and only a
quarter calculate the cost, in terms of employment tribunals or absenteeism, of
not getting gender and diversity policies right.

Clara Freeman, chairwoman of Opportunity Now, commented: "An enormous
amount of time and effort goes into the business of ensuring the machinery is
in place which will maximise women’s contribution to their organisations, so it
must make sense to monitor, measure and assess the impact such initiatives are
having on individuals and on the broader organisation."

The study, which was based on responses from more than 200 employers,
reveals that although half have procedures in place to ensure equality in
promotion and appraisal activities, only 30 per cent of organisations regularly
conduct equal pay audits to ensure gender equality.

The survey, the seventh annual benchmarking exercise completed by
Opportunity Now, reveals that progress has been made on ensuring recruitment
and selection processes are fair, with around 80 per cent of employers applying
their procedures at both management and non-management levels and 75 per cent
applying them at board level.

However, only one-third of businesses communicate progress being made on
gender issues to staff and less than half consult with employees on their
perception of the organisation’s approach to gender equality issues.

www.opportunitynow.org.uk

By Quentin Reade

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