human resources. employees sitting on chairs

 

Equality vs. Equity: What does it mean for your workplace?

By: Nicole Laidler

 

When it comes to workplace trends, 2020 is set to be the year when people come first.

 

With companies across all sectors facing talent shortages and welcoming a new generation of employees who place a high value on flexibility, opportunities for growth, and corporate social responsibility, HR managers need to do more than ever to attract and retain the best candidate for every position.


“There are currently so many opportunities for employees,” says Rita Perepelitsky, Director Human Resources for Ardent Industries and an instructor in the Business Management and Project Management Certificate programs at Western Continuing Studies.

“People are not just looking for a paycheck anymore. They really want to belong to a company that is serving their higher good.”


That means companies can no longer afford to take a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring, training, and retaining their staff. Instead, the focus should be on achieving equity, rather than equality, in the workplace.


Perepelitsky explains that equality is about treating everybody the same, while equity is about giving everybody what they need in order to succeed.

 

Equality vs. Equity

 


“Equality assumes that everyone starts at the same place. Equity focuses on providing everyone with the tools and opportunities to end up at the same place,” she says. “It’s about looking at an employee holistically and recognizing that everyone has different motivations and needs.”


For example, employees may have a variety of learning styles. Visual learners, auditory learners, and tactile learners all process information differently. An equitable approach to training takes these differences into account and offers people the opportunity to learn in the way that works best for them.


“We want to achieve consistent outcomes, but the approach is going to be a little different depending on the employee,” says Perepelitsky.  


It can be difficult to convince people that treating people the same isn’t always the best approach, Perepelitsky notes. “I’ve seen instances where people are treated differently and that is perceived as favouritism,” she says. But advocating for equitable practices in the workplace is worth the extra effort because it helps everyone succeed.


Human Resources at Western Continuing Studies


Striking the right balance between equality and equity is just one topic covered by Perepelitsky in the Introduction to Human Resource Management course at WCS. Other areas of learning include human resource planning, recruitment and selection, employee development and learning, compensation and rewards, and workplace safety.


Perepelitsky says students range from people interested in a career in HR to office administrators and general managers. “HR affects all aspects of a business,” she says. “People tend to think we do payroll, we hire, we fire. But in reality, we take care of an employee from before they start their position to the point of retirement, and everything that happens in between.”

 

 

 

 

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