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Equity Calls on Everyone: Managers, Colleagues, and You

As a follow-up to our research sponsorship of a study on "Equity at Work: Fulfilling Its Promise through Process," we sponsored a second report in this series on building equity in the corporate world. "Equity Calls on Everyone: Managers, Colleagues, and You" published by COQUAL finds employees are more likely to say their organizations are fair if they have inclusive managers and colleagues. 

To create enduringly equitable workplaces, the processes and the interactions among individuals must change, and employees must be inspired, invested and see accountability for inclusion and equity in their organization. As Carina Radford, Partner and Chair of our Global Women’s Initiative, stated in the report, “For a contract of trust to exist between an organization and those who work in it, there can’t be any discrepancy between stated values and the way the culture shows up day to day.” 

The study found that many employees, especially members of marginalized groups, experience unfair treatment because of their identity:

  • 30% of Black professionals feel they're treated unfairly because of their race. 
  • 20% of women feel they’re treated unfairly based on gender. 
  • 17% of LGBT+ professionals feel they’re treated unfairly because of their sexual orientation. Black LGBT+ professionals (51%) are nearly twice as likely as Black non-LGBT+ peers (26%) to describe their company’s culture as inclusive.

While inclusion is the responsibility of the organization and its leaders, individual colleagues can promote and influence team culture with inclusive behaviors, and when reinforced by organizational policy, meaningfully contribute to greater equity in the workplace.

This research also found that inclusive manager behaviors are strongly and positively correlated with inclusive colleague behaviors. Having a more inclusive manager is associated with an 18% increase in perceptions of fairness at work, and having more inclusive colleagues is associated with a 21% increase in perceptions of fairness at work. 

Arlene Arin Hahn, Partner and Chair of our Global Diversity Initiative, explained in the report “When partners and supervisor exhibit inclusive behaviors, then a number of benefits flow to the members of their teams—and to the entire organization. That’s a persuasive argument for change.”

To read the full report, please visit COQUAL's website.