Month: October 2023

A discourse is taking center stage in human resources (HR): equity. More than just a buzzword, ensuring equity in the workplace is now a concern across organizations, sparking conversations between HR professionals and business leaders.

But equity is more than just fairness. Equity ensures every employee has equal access to opportunities, resources, and fair treatment. In an era where diversity and inclusion have become the core of corporate values, equity is impossible to ignore. Integrating equity into your organization’s HR strategies is crucial to cultivating employee satisfaction and success.

Additionally, it’s important to distinguish between equity and equality. While equality involves providing the same resources to everyone, equity acknowledges that individual circumstances vary and, as such, an organization should offer the necessary resources to achieve equal outcomes.

As organizations navigate an increasingly diverse and dynamic landscape, establishing a fair HR strategy goes beyond ethics and compliance.

This blog post will explore the hot topic of equity, its role in HR practices, and how HR can foster an environment where equity is a reality. Drawing from industry insights and proven systems, the blog article will help guide you toward cultivating a fairer and more equitable workplace.

What is equity?

As an HR professional, you have probably heard the term “equity” thrown around in your workplace. But what does it mean?

Equity is the fair treatment of access, opportunity, and advancement for all individuals. While the term is often associated with pay, equity acknowledges that every staff member has unique needs and circumstances.

Ensuring equity involves customizing resources and opportunities so that everyone has an equal chance of success. According to the Society for Human Resources Management, this includes “identifying and working to eliminate barriers to fair treatment for disadvantaged groups, from the team level through systemic changes in organizations and industries.” For example, providing added training to employees who lack specific skills can be an example of equity.

You might wonder why equity is significant and how it affects your organization. The truth is that equity is the backbone of any successful HR management strategy. Without it, your organization could face many challenges, including high turnover rates, low employee morale, and even legal issues.

How vital is equity in HR?

Equity in HR is more than a matter of ethics or compliance. It’s a strategic necessity. Employees who feel treated fairly are more likely to be engaged and productive. They are more likely to stay with your organization and contribute to its success.

A lack of equity, on the other hand, can lead to a toxic work culture. Employees who feel they are not treated fairly are more likely to be disengaged and unproductive. They are likelier to leave your organization, leading to high turnover rates and recruitment costs. Moreover, a lack of equity can also expose your organization to legal risks, as it could potentially violate anti-discrimination laws.

Another reason ensuring equity is vital in HR is that it helps attract and keep top talent. Job seekers are not just looking for a paycheck. They are looking for a workplace that values diversity and inclusion and treats all employees fairly. By ensuring equity, you can make your organization a more attractive place to work.

Ensuring equity in the organization is vital as the workplace constantly evolves. How can organizations support equity when their staff is dispersed across various locations, both locally and internationally? How do they ensure equal opportunities when most staff opt for remote work instead of coming to the office?

HR plays a crucial role in implementing policies and practices that promote fair treatment and challenge systemic bias. They must create an environment where every employee has a chance to succeed regardless of their background.

How do I build Equity into our HR strategy?

Building equity into your HR strategy may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some steps you can take to ensure equity in your organization:

Assess your current situation. Are there any areas where some employees are treated less favorably than others? Are there any policies or practices that could potentially discriminate against certain groups of employees? Thoroughly auditing your HR processes can help. Collect and analyze relevant data to identify any equity issues. Once you have identified these concerns, take action to address them.

Develop a clear policy on equity. Should individuals in the same job receive similar pay rates, regardless of their location in vastly different markets? Alternatively, should compensation be determined based on what the organization considers fair and competitive within the specific market where the employee is situated? Your policy should clearly articulate your organization’s dedication to equitable treatment for all employees, set up parameters for addressing and rectifying potential equity concerns, and emphasize the significance of communicating this policy to all employees while offering training in equity and diversity.

Implement fair HR practices. Promoting equity requires an integrated approach where every individual feels valued and heard. This involves creating an environment where diversity is celebrated and employees are given equal access to opportunities through unbiased recruitment processes, proper compensation structures, and inclusive workplace policies. Remember, the goal is not just to treat everyone the same but to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

Communicate your targets and share your progress. Set clear, measurable goals for equity, and track your progress towards these goals. Be transparent about your progress and any challenges you are facing. Most importantly, set up transparent communication channels that allow for open dialogue about organizational decisions, fostering trust and empowerment among staff members.

Promote the importance of equity. Make sure that your organization’s leaders and staff are aware of the benefits of equity and why it is essential to success. Remember that equity is an ongoing commitment that requires continuous monitoring and improvement. By promoting an environment of fairness and respect, you can ensure that your people can thrive and contribute meaningfully to fulfilling the organization’s mission.

How Birches Group can help you ensure workplace equity

At Birches Group, we understand the importance of equity in HR. That’s why we’ve developed Community SkillsTM, a platform and tool that can help you ensure equity in your organization.

Community SkillsTM is designed to help assess your people’s skills and knowledge growth. It allows you to create a skills profile for each employee, which can aid in finding skills gaps and developing learning & development plans.

In addition, the platform offers benchmarks for various roles and functions to better ensure fair compensation for all employees. By using Community SkillsTM, you can ensure that all your employees are given an equal opportunity to grow and succeed.

Equity is a crucial factor in building a successful HR management strategy. It’s not just about treating everyone the same, but about giving everyone an equal opportunity to succeed. By understanding equity, recognizing its importance, and integrating it into your HR practices, you can create a workplace that is fair, inclusive, and conducive to success.

Contact Birches Group today to learn about our Community SkillsTM platform and request a demo.

Carla is a part-time copywriter in our marketing team in Manila. Before shifting to freelance writing in 2020, she worked as a marketing and communications specialist at the offices of EY and Grant Thornton. She has written about HR and career development for Kalibrr. 

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A massacre in southern Israel appears to be a turning point in the simmering confrontation between Hamas and Israel, says Newsweek. Tensions between the Palestinian militant group and the Middle Eastern nation periodically ignited short-lived, intense conflicts—until recently.

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, launched an unprecedented attack inside Israel in the early morning of October 7, 2023, during a major Jewish holiday.

According to Al Jazeera, Associated Press, and other news agencies, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel with sirens heard as far away as Tel Aviv. Backed by rockets, hundreds of Hamas gunmen infiltrated Israel’s heavily fortified border and rampaged nearby towns. Over 1,300 people have been killed in the multi-pronged assault, and at least 150 soldiers and civilians, including foreign nationals, have been abducted and held in the Gaza Strip as hostages.

The BBC’s International Editor says it was the most ambitious operation Hamas has ever launched from Gaza and the most serious cross-border attack Israel has faced in over a generation.

On the day of the attack, Israel declared a state of war and approved “significant military steps” in response. According to Time, the goal of Israel’s military operation is to “achieve the destruction of the military and governing capabilities of Hamas.” As Israel launches multiple airstrikes on Gaza and mobilizes its army for a ground invasion, the world’s eyes are focused on what might come next.

Israel retaliates

As a result of the October 7, 2023, surprise attack, Israel has responded with multiple devastating strategies:

Launched a series of airstrikes. When Hamas fires rockets at Israel, warning detectors are set off, civilians flee to a network of bomb shelters, and the Iron Dome system intercepts projectiles in the air. CNN says that, in Gaza, none of those high-tech defenses are available.

The Israeli military had dropped thousands of bombs on Gaza as Hamas militants fired rockets into Israel. The United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that the bombardment of Gaza has destroyed entire neighborhoods, leaving over 20% of the population displaced.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of using white phosphorus, a controversial munition, in its bombings. Sometimes used to mark areas, the highly combustible chemical can severely burn people.

Imposed a total blockade of Gaza. The Gaza Strip has been almost completely cut off from the world for nearly 17 years. Israel and Egypt have imposed a land, air, and sea blockade since Hamas took over the Palestinian territory. The movement of goods is tightly restricted. On October 9, 2023, Israel imposed a “complete siege” of Gaza, cutting access to electricity, food, water, medicines, and fuel until the hostages are returned home. Since then, the enclave of 2.3 million people has been incapable of receiving humanitarian aid.

Ordered a mass evacuation of northern Gaza. The Gaza Strip has one of the world’s highest population densities. Additionally, over 75% of its people are registered refugees. On October 13, 2023, Israel’s army ordered civilians in Gaza City and the north of the Gaza Strip—an estimated 1.1 million people—to evacuate their homes and flee to the south within 24 hours. The UN says the task is dangerous and unfeasible amid constant airstrikes.

The situation leaves civilians in Gaza with no way of escaping the conflict. Two of the three crossings out of the Palestinian territory are shut, and its southern border with Egypt is routinely closed.

Called for troops for a ground offensive. In the first few days of the conflict, Israel has conducted small-scale operations against Hamas fighters to regain control of infiltrated communities.

Although Israeli officials have yet to order a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza as of this writing, they have been planning for it. Numerous news outlets report Israel has amassed over 160,000 soldiers and 360,000 reservists, the biggest call in 50 years. Vast numbers of troops have already assembled on the Israel-Gaza border, along with weaponry, tanks, and armored vehicles.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas is expected to intensify in the coming weeks, and the escalating conflict has heightened fears of a long and brutal war.

The impact of the escalating conflict

The BBC reports that survivors in both Gaza and Israel describe the scale of devastation as “something they have never experienced in the decades of conflict between both sides.” Beyond the immediate toll of death and injury, the Israel-Hamas war has disrupted every facet of daily life, especially for people in the Gaza Strip.

Displaced population. The UN humanitarian office says the bombardment of Gaza has damaged more than 12,000 homes. As airstrikes and shelling continue, more people flee and seek emergency shelter. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees adds that at least 400,000 people have been displaced in schools, hospitals, and other buildings.

Additionally, parts of southern Gaza are becoming more crowded and overstretched as waves of evacuating residents from the north abandon their homes.

Rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. The UN human rights chief said Israel’s announcement of a complete siege worsens the already dire situation in the Gaza Strip. “There is not one drop of water, not one grain of wheat, not a liter of fuel that has been allowed into the Gaza Strip for the last eight days,” remarked Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWAS), on the situation.

Even before the violence escalated, 80% of Gaza’s population needed aid. In addition, the UNRWA told Al Jazeera that it has less than two weeks’ supply of food and water to assist people who have sought refuge in its schools.

As a result, the UN and relief groups are pleading for opening an emergency corridor, allowing the safe passage of civilians and the transfer of much-needed humanitarian aid. CNN reports that tons of vital supplies for people in Gaza are now piling up on the Egyptian side of the border.

The Guardian notes that Gaza’s inhabitants, battered by four wars over 16 years, will pay the heaviest price.

The global response

The international community, spearheaded by the UN, has expressed deep concern over the recent escalation of conflict. UN officials have called for an immediate ceasefire, respect for international law, and the protection of civilians. UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said, “The Secretary-General is deeply concerned for the civilian population and urges maximum restraint.”

A turning point

Observers anticipate a major ground assault on Gaza. Israel’s military says it is preparing for the “next stages of the war” against Hamas, with troops gearing up for strikes from the air, sea, and land, as well as a significant ground operation.

Although it is too early to know how long Israel’s military response will last, experts have told Time that it will last into the weeks and months ahead.

Analysts say the brazen attack by Hamas is a turning point in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict with far-reaching repercussions. “The October 2023 conflict between Israel and Hamas marks the most significant escalation of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in several decades,” says the Council on Foreign Relations.

Establishing a Special Measures Policy is crucial for your organization to maintain business continuity during times of conflict, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict. A Special Measures Policy allows you to adapt your compensation practices to changing circumstances, ensuring sustainability despite the challenges.

We at Birches Group offer expertise in crafting Special Measures policies tailored to your unique needs. Our consultants have deep knowledge and an understanding of crises and unforeseen events, enabling us to provide solutions considering present challenges, risks, and uncertainties.

Don’t wait for conflict to disrupt your operations. Reach out to Birches Group today. Our experts are ready to guide you in developing a clear Special Measures Policy, positioning your organization to withstand volatility and to continue doing business even in the face of conflict. Taking this proactive step can help your organization in the current global climate.

This article was written in mid-October 2023. Please note that the Israel-Hamas War, as discussed in this headline article, is ongoing. The statistics and events discussed are accurate up to the time of writing. However, as this is a dynamic event, there may have been significant changes and developments.