3 Equity Examples in the Workplace

Equity at work means giving everyone the same opportunities for development and achievement. This approach considers the individual differences and unique circumstances of the people involved. 

As this guide uncovers real-life instances of equity in different organizations, it also explains how fair treatment, equal opportunities, and upward mobility can be achieved practically. 

Understanding equity in the workplace

Fairness means that all employees are given the same respect, access to resources, and opportunities to develop. It is about awareness of the distinct challenges that may arise for various individuals and actively fighting to remove such barriers to have the same playing field. Equity, as a critical pillar, contributes to a balanced and inclusive workplace culture that embraces diversity and sees it as a strength.

Equity vs. Equality

While the terms equity and equality can sometimes be used interchangeably, they represent two different concepts of fairness. The idea that everyone should be treated equally implies that everyone has to be treated in the same manner, regardless of their needs, cases, or background. It is a one-fits-all approach that has the assumption that everyone enjoys similar support. 

Instead of equity, which means recognizing that we are all different and therefore providing the appropriate resources and opportunities to bring us to a level playing field, is a process that is much more complex.

The importance of equity

Equity is a fundamental basis for eradicating the embedded inequalities that have been present since the beginning and have been used to oppress specific groups. 

This strategy can potentially remove obstacles and create a more embracing work setting where everyone can contribute what they have at their best. Practices of equity in the workplace mean acknowledging the differences and making changes in the policies, procedures, and operational activities that will cater to those differences. It involves:

– Carrying out regular pay audits to ensure equal payment to women, men, and different races and other demographic groups.

– Instituting mentorship and sponsorship programs that enhance underrepresented employees’ professional growth by helping them advance their careers.

– Making the work policies flexible to meet different needs, such as parenting, job sharing, and religious practices.

– Integrating inclusive recruitment and hiring components that reduce unconscious bias and support diversity.

Through equity as the focus point, organizations create a more diverse and inclusive culture and release possible creativity, satisfaction, and performance. 

Equity creates an environment where all employees can realize their full potential, a key factor for a stable and successful organization in the modern world of global markets.

Types of equity in the workplace

Workplace equity involves some elements that address different facets of justice and equality. By grasping and applying pay, opportunity, and procedural equity, organizations can design a work environment where every employee is respected and appreciated.

Pay equity: Ensuring fair compensation

Pay equity is the principle that fair wages should cover employment, regardless of gender, race, or any other factor unrelated to merit. 

It means equal pay for work of equal nature, skill, effort, and responsibility on the same job; pay for the same job depends on the nature of the employers’ work; it is broader since it has drawn comparison with employers undertaking different jobs that are relatively equal . 

This principle is crucial as it will help to eliminate the root of the problem, it will also help to correct the historical undervaluation of work done by women and minorities.

Opportunity equity: Access to growth and development

Opportunity equity means ensuring all employees receive fair consideration when seeking promotions, leadership roles, or professional development. This means posting open positions, offering mentorships, and removing biases from performance evaluations. 

These practices give all employees an equal shot at showcasing skills and pursuing career growth.

Procedural equity: Fairness in policies and practices

Procedural equity refers to having consistent, ethical policies and transparently handling employee grievances. Structured hiring processes, inclusive policy-making, and accessible grievance procedures make policies feel fair versus arbitrary. When employees trust policies are applied justly, engagement and satisfaction improve.

There’s no quick fix for cultivating workplace equity – it requires an ongoing commitment from leadership. But the returns on that investment are immense. Equitable practices allow organizations to tap into the full creative potential of their workforce. The result? Increased innovation, better decisions, and a collaborative culture where every employee can thrive.

Overcoming obstacles to implementing equity

Implementing genuine equity in the workplace often feels like a lofty ideal – something organizations aspire to but struggle to actualize. Despite the best intentions, transformation stalls in the face of real-world hurdles like unconscious bias, resistance to change, and lack of understanding.

But achieving equity is far from impossible with the right strategies in place. It will take serious work, but the rewards of equitable, inclusive work cultures make it more than worthwhile. Overcoming these obstacles requires a proactive and multifaceted approach.

Unconscious bias 

One of the sneakiest obstacles to equity is unconscious bias slithering under the surface. Without realizing it, hiring managers pass over women and minority candidates. Leaders sponsor employees that remind them of their younger selves. Potential lies are ignored as biases skew critical decisions. 

This pattern is not just anecdotal; research from Coqual (formerly the Center for Talent Innovation) supports this, finding that 71% of sponsors have protégés whose gender and race match their own, highlighting the prevalence of unconscious bias in professional sponsorships.

Tackling unconscious bias means bringing it into the light through bias literacy training. Educational programs help employees recognize prejudices that infiltrate their thinking. However, awareness isn’t enough. Achieving equity requires systematically disrupting biased behaviors with intentional practices.

Resistance to change

Even well-intentioned leaders face skepticism and change fatigue from stakeholders whenever equity initiatives surface. Without understanding the vision or business case, employees dig in their heels, derailing progress from day one.

That’s why securing leadership commitment and rallying stakeholder buy-in are essential first steps. Start by connecting equity to innovation and financial performance. Communicate how new initiatives will make workflows more fair and consistent for all. Share psychologically safe spaces for stakeholders to explore change anxiety and have their voices heard.

Lack of awareness

Leaders often trumpet equity without grasping requirements beyond a diversity recruitment quota. Equity reflects core organizational attributes – it can’t remain siloed to HR. For transformation to stick, education on connecting equity’s dots is paramount. 

This framework demonstrates equity requires scrutiny of total workplace experience – hiring, developing, engaging, and retaining – at both individual and systemic levels. No easy feat, but immensely powerful.


Overcoming equity barriers relies on tenacious leadership, stakeholder inclusion, education, and adaptable systems. While the path is long, the view from the summit makes every step worthwhile.

As organizations strive to enhance their equity efforts, platforms like Diversio can play a pivotal role. Diversio offers data-driven insights and tools to help organizations identify improvement areas and track their equity initiatives’ progress. By leveraging technology and expert guidance, organizations can more effectively navigate the complexities of implementing equity and drive meaningful change.

Kate Stone
Kate Stone
Kate Stone leads marketing at Diversio, a technology startup that uses data analytics to help companies and investors unlock diversity for improved performance. Diversio works with clients in 30 countries across the world and has been featured at global events like the G20 and Davos.
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