“Social justice is the surest guarantor of peace in the world”- Guy Ryder
It is in line with the above quote that issues relating to Race, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) are now on the front burner in the modern day workplace. Prioritizing issues of social justice in the workplace have become of significant importance to employers. This is often in a bid to make DEI part of its corporate culture, so as to create a sustainable and inclusive work environment.
This article seeks to explain what social justice means in the context of the workplace and its significance to achieving a positive workplace experience for both employers and employees within a corporate organization. So, what does social justice mean?
Social justice is an idea that has its roots in philosophy and religious beliefs, thus cutting across various facets of the society. Social justice is the basis upon which the promotion of the twin concepts of equity and fairness basically lies. The idea of social justice is defined by the advocacy for equal rights and opportunity for all people.
As regards the workplace, the idea of social justice comes to play in an attempt to eliminate social oppression in the forms of discrimination against individual employees on grounds of race, age, sex, life experience, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, etc.
The idea of DEI within the workplace is targeted at implementing strategies and programs that promote diversity, ensure there is equality and adoption of inclusivity in a corporate organization’s work policies and employment approaches. Let us further define DEI.
DEI is an acronym for diversity, equity and inclusion. While diversity in the workplace may be described as referring to the presence of variety and divergence within the work environment; equity on the other hand, refers to the process of guaranteeing that hiring processes and workplace programs are impartial, fair and allows for equal possible outcomes for every employee in the workplace. Inclusion refers to a workplace culture that makes a corporate organization welcoming to all potential job candidates, regardless of their racial identity, ethnicity, sex, life experiences, background, religion, age, abilities, etc and making them feel valued and respected.
Leaders in the corporate world are currently embracing the need to use social justice as an important tool in ensuring that their DEI goals are effectively realized. This is with the view of helping people work together to change policies that affect underrepresented persons, especially in the areas of systemic inequalities owing to cultural diversity barriers. This includes moving the conversations revolving around equity, fairness and elimination of social oppression from social media to the workplace environment to influence the making of corporate policies.
It is worth noting that according to a Forbes’s report based on a Benevity poll, recent statistics reveal that 80% of employees say racial justice and equity issues should be on corporate agendas. In addition to this, the report revealed that more than a third of employees would likely quit their job if their company did not prioritize social or racial injustice issues.
DEI and social justice has become an important metric in assessing performance success for global organizations in recent times; moving away from mere financial criteria and performance indicators. As such, it is important in the modern workplace that programs and strategies focused on ensuring social justice through the use of DEI tools are incorporated into an organization’s work culture.