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A successful organisation will treat every member of its workforce fairly and equally, regardless of their personal characteristics. 

By employing an effective equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging (EDI&B) strategy, your company can become stronger, bringing in a greater variety of opinions and cultivate innovation. 

EDI&B policy statement of purpose 

The importance of EDI&B in the modern workplace can’t be underestimated. Inclusion should be at the heart of everything you do, right through the employee lifecycle. 

From using the correct wording when producing job adverts to allowing employees to be their true selves without reprisals, there is plenty you can do to create a robust EDI&B strategy. 

When looking to formulate your strategy, it is important to always return to why you are implementing a particular policy. Every goal should have a what, why and how, as well as a measurable method as to how that ‘how’ will be achieved. This not only allows you to clearly lay out your strategy, but also provides an immediate counter to any pushback. 

An EDI&B policy should provide equality, fairness, and respect for all employees, as well as helping an organisation avoid unlawful discrimination as outlined in The Equality Act 2010. 

Under this legislation, the following are defined as protected characteristics: 

  • age 

  • disability 

  • gender reassignment 

  • marriage or civil partnership 

  • pregnancy and maternity 

  • race 

  • religion or belief 

  • sex 

  • sexual orientation 

An EDI&B policy should create a clear and compelling vision for equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging within your organisation, covering both short- and long-term objectives. It should reference a number of other policies and procedures, such as a discrimination policy, a diversity and inclusion statement, flexible working policies, and an EDI statement.  

What is equality, diversity and inclusion and why are they important? 

Before drawing up an EDI&B policy, it is important to define key terms that employees and leaders will need to be familiar with and understand. 

Your organisation will need to consider what diversity and equality is in general and what it means for your workforce. 

Equality and diversity meaning 

What is equality? Achieving equality in the workplace is about creating fair and just practices which enable people to thrive. Equality encourages a sense of safety among employees that leads to higher levels of engagement and increased retention. 

What is diversity? At the most basic level, diversity is the presence of difference. Diversity at work means employing people of different genders, cultures, ages, ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, and education levels.   

Other key EDI&B language 

As well as defining the basics, your company should examine the meaning of words such as inclusion, belonging, discrimination or harassment.  

Inclusion: an organisation can be defined as inclusive when all its employees are treated equally and with respect. Everyone should have access to the same resources, training and opportunities, while candidates should be hired not simply for the sake of diversity but with an understanding of why diversity and inclusion is important, and the different perspectives and value a diverse workforce will bring.  

Belonging: this is about someone feeling valued in the workplace through positive connections with others and being able to be their authentic self at work. People are always looking to develop connections, both at work and in their lives generally, as that is how they validate their feelings and fulfil the need to belong. 

Discrimination: takes place against individuals, including those possessing the personal characteristics listed above. This can include actions such as denial of benefits, compensation, or promotion, exclusion from or termination of employment, denial of the use of an organisation’s facilities, exclusion or isolation, a hostile work environment, or a failure to understand and provide the necessary accommodations needed to cater for someone’s needs, such as for those who have a disability. 

Harassment: any treatment which is offensive, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening. This can include inappropriate jokes or comments, name-calling and insults, hate speech, intolerance, the use of stereotypes, and even physical assault.  

Make sure your EDI&B policy is authentic 

If your EDI&B strategy is inauthentic or performative, then you risk alienating the very people you are trying to engage with. 

It is vital to interact with a broad range of people across your organisation to create an accurate representation of what diversity means to them, and what their truth is. If your strategy is fake, you risk losing employees. 

This means it is important to research how your workforce feels, using employee surveys. Holding focus groups to discuss how employees feel in more detail is a vital step to really get them talking – but remember diversity is just that: diverse. These focus groups should be held across all the protected characteristics previously listed. 

It is also important to note smaller companies may not contain employees from each minority group. In these circumstances, it is key to seek assistance from EDI&B professionals to make sure your policy is fully rounded. Remember, the aim is that there should be ‘no conversation about us, without us’.  

Equality, diversity and inclusion examples 

From equality across leadership positions to practical and inclusive employee benefits, here are three companies celebrated for their EDI&B policies: 

Johnson & Johnson

The global diversity and inclusion vision at Johnson & Johnson is “for every person to use their unique experiences, abilities and backgrounds, together – to spark solutions that create a better healthier world”. By next year, the company aims to have 50% women in management worldwide, while in America, it is targeting 35% racial diversity in management positions. 


At Cisco, more than 50% of the workforce is non-white and 42% of senior managers are women. The company regular receives best workplace awards for women, LGBTQ+ members and ex-military employees, while CEO Chuck Robbins said they are committed to “corporate social responsibility and social justice, our teams, and the support we bring to our communities”.  


Practical employee benefits such as coverage for sex reassignment and surrogacy assistance are valued at Mastercard, whose diversity and inclusion policy states, “we are on a journey to create a workplace and world where everyone has equal access to connect their greatest passions with their fullest potential”. 

Reviewing your EDI&B policy 

Creating a strong, authentic and inclusive EDI&B policy is a great start – but that’s all it is.  

To truly embrace equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, companies need to be committed to updating and improving their EDI&B policy based on changes in the wider world and within their own organisation.

It is vital to audit your strategy, both internally and externally, and to actively look for where you may be going wrong so that you can change things as necessary.  

An annual review of your goals will allow you to assess what is working and what policies need refining.  

Organisations should look at what their objectives were, whether or not those goals were achieved, and ultimately, if they can be judged to have been the right goals.  

Finally, businesses can analyse whether the existing policy is still fit for purpose, or whether it needs to be amended.   

Equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging template

Our downloadable policy creation guide will help you gather the information you need to create a robust EDI&B policy that allows you to define what is diversity, equality, and inclusion; what equality and diversity involve; and which reflects your organisational values and the characteristics of your workforce. 

By following our guide, you will be able to: 

  • Analyse why your organisation needs to create an EDI&B policy and how success will be measured 

  • Discover why it is vital that your policy is authentic and genuine, and how you can use focus groups to develop this element

  • Develop a series of policies and procedures that comply with relevant laws and regulations and apply to each of the protected characteristics defined under The Equality Act of 2010, including details of how employees should raise any grievances and who they should approach in such circumstances

  • Highlight your organisation’s commitment to promoting equality, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace, and learn how to create a discrimination-free, bullying-free, and harassment-free environment

  • Define the perfect EDI&B policy for your organisation

Download our guide by clicking on the button at the top of this page