Seven years on from the UK’s Equality Act, and following an immense amount of work by many employers to pursue best practice, we wanted to understand how managers and workers have responded to updated legislation and guidance about workplace diversity and inclusion.
This report analyses data gathered from two surveys we carried out in February 2017, and presents findings along with insights we’ve gathered from professionals working in business, politics, media, and the world of religion and belief.
It is the first thought leadership piece published by the Faith Research Centre at ComRes, and we set out here our observations and analysis based on many informal meetings with business and faith leaders, and experiences shared with us confidentially by professionals in a wide range of sectors.
It is our firmly held belief that religion can be moved from the ‘threat’ to the ‘opportunity’ box of the corporate SWOT analysis, and we hope that this report will help make this possible for many employers.
Developing a diverse and inclusive workforce is noted as a priority in many workplaces, and research suggests that a diverse team may have greater mental acuity and potentially increased productivity. Increasingly employers are understanding that diversity alone doesn’t move organisational culture onwards unless a truly inclusive approach makes room to listen to people and take account of their values.
We found that employers are working hard to build diverse and inclusive workforces, and are often offering training and support. Not all employees know that though and HR Managers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, more likely to say that they understand and work towards workplace diversity than employees are.
There is much to note here about diversity and inclusion in general. We tested levels of awareness and access to provision relating to seven of the categories described in the Equality Act 2010, to give us an idea of the state of play in general. Our interest in compiling this report is in the research requirements of employers pursuing greater understanding of religion and belief in the workplace, but the findings are of value across the spectrum of diversity issues, and we hope will have merit more broadly.
As a research agency, it’s our mission to help public, non-profit and business sectors gather data and insights which will help them understand their audiences and communicate more effectively. This report does not pursue a religious or political agenda, but does suggest some ways employers could develop a culture where people of all faiths and none can thrive.