Promoting Equity - Ethnic diversity in the workplace: A step-by-step guide

Discrimination based on race affects millions of workers worldwide. Ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, people of African descent, Roma, nationals of foreign origin and migrant workers are among the most affected. It is not only these ethnic and racial minorities who suffer when racial discrimination is tolerated at the workplace. According to the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: “Racial discrimination harms not only those who are its objects but also those who practice it.” The workplace is a key strategic entry point for addressing racial discrimination. Through awareness-raising and training, social dialogue, and observing diversity, employers and workers are better able to understand the concepts, identify cases and develop the necessary skills and tools to address racial discrimination. It is important that effective workplace strategies and policies be designed, implemented and monitored, in order not only to eliminate racial discrimination but also to support more diverse workforces. Employing a diverse workforce – and managing it effectively – not only satisfies legal and ethical obligations, but is also good for business. Research shows that non-discrimination efforts can cut costs and increase revenue. Having a policy in place to accommodate workers from diverse backgrounds not only minimizes the negative potential legal and financial consequences, but is also key to the enterprise’s adaptability, growth, sustainability and competitive edge.

This guide provides information for employers, workers and their respective
organizations on how to promote and value ethnic diversity in the workplace
through the design, implementation and monitoring of a workplace ethnic
diversity policy.
The guide provides a framework that can be adapted to regional and national
realities, variations in sector and enterprise size, as well as throughout supply chains where applicable.
This is the second guide in a series on promoting equity in the workplace.
The first guide in the series is Gender Neutral Job Evaluation for Equal Pay: A
Step-by-Step Guide.
Users are encouraged to follow either all of the guide or those parts that
are relevant to their strategic objectives, priorities, codes of conduct, and national legislation and local context. Parts of the guide can also be adapted to accommodate the various stages of diversity interventions. The guide is
neither prescriptive nor binding.
Workplace diversity initiatives are a legal imperative in many countries.
Moreover, workplace diversity initiatives improve organizational adaptability and
competitive advantage as well as reduce legal risks to the enterprise. Despite knowing this, many enterprises are unsure of how to implement sustainable and credible diversity initiatives. This guide is a step‑by‑step approach to
preparing, implementing and monitoring a diversity policy in the workplace.
Clear definitions and concrete examples allow the user to implement a diversity policy that is aligned to the enterprise’s values and strategic objectives.