What is Affirmative Action?
Affirmative action is a policy or practice that seeks to increase the representation of certain groups who have historically been excluded from certain opportunities.
This policy typically focuses on increasing the number of minority or disadvantaged individuals in areas such as education, employment, and public contracting.
This includes racial minorities, women, LGBTQ people, disabled people, veterans, and other groups that have faced discrimination in the past.
Affirmative action programs take into account the impact of past discriminatory practices on these groups and seek to counter them through proactive measures.
It is an important part of ensuring equal opportunities for all, and is considered to be a key factor in creating a more equitable and just society by providing equal access to education, employment, and other opportunities for minority groups who have been historically disadvantaged.
The Importance of Affirmative Action in the Workplace
Affirmative action is a way for organizations to increase diversity and inclusion by actively recruiting from underrepresented communities and providing them with equal access to resources.
For example, if an organization has a hiring process that favors white men over women or people of color, then implementing affirmative action can help rectify this imbalance.
Affirmative action plays an important role in helping create more inclusive organizations where all employees feel valued and respected regardless of their background.
Implementing affirmative action can also help reduce biases within organizations by creating awareness around issues like unconscious bias and systemic racism/sexism/ableism etc.
Additionally, it can help create more equitable hiring practices which can lead to increased productivity and creativity within teams as well as improved customer satisfaction rates due to having a more diverse workforce that better reflects customer needs and values.
Implementing affirmative action policies can also help improve employee morale by creating an environment where everyone feels valued and respected regardless of their background or identity.
There are numerous benefits associated with implementing affirmative action policies in the workplace. For starters, it helps promote diversity which can be beneficial for team dynamics as well as company culture.
Additionally, studies have shown that companies with diverse workforces tend to be more successful than those without due to improved problem-solving skills and innovation.
Furthermore, expanding hiring pools beyond the traditional criteria can open up new talent pipelines which could lead to more qualified candidates being hired for positions within the organisation.
The History Behind Affirmative Action
Affirmative action first came into play in the United States in the 1960s as part of an effort to address discrimination against African Americans.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued an executive order requiring federal employers to implement affirmative action programs that provided equal opportunity for all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Since then, affirmative action has been expanded upon to include other minority groups including people with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals, and women. This expansion has been critical in helping combat long-standing biases and creating more equitable workplaces.
Then, on September 24, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued Executive Order 11246, which banned employment discrimination based on national origin, race, religion, or color, by organizations that were receiving contracts or subcontracts by the federal government.
Two years later, this was amended and sex was added into the list of attributes. In recent times, affirmative action has become the subject of debate, with many regarding it as a contentious issue.
Implementing an Affirmative Action Plan
Companies can implement an affirmative action plan in order to showcase their commitment. According to the Code of Federal Regulations, an affirmative action plan would have the following sections:
Analysis: This is general profile of the company, identifying each employee by race/ethnicity, while also analyzing the organization chart and job roles, including how they relate to each other.
Availability: A comprehensive calculation showing target minorities working at the company with the talent pool, while factoring in the skills for the required positions.
Comparison: This is a direct comparison of employees currently working at the company and the available candidates which feeds into the organization’s existing recruitment goals.
Responsibility: This section outlines the responsibility for specific managers who are responsible for tracking these goals.
Problem areas: If there are general problem areas, they must be listed, such as departments with underrepresented minorities.
Remedial steps: Any steps that the organization intends to take to rectify the problem areas must be highlighted in this section.
Internal audits: This section allows companies to outline plans about how they plan on gauging the success of their affirmative action plans.
The inclusio Platform Can Help Organisations Track their Affirmative Action Plans
If you’re serious about implementing affirmative action policies in your organization, using an AI-powered D&I platform such as inclusio can help. The inclusio platform empowers management by giving them access to powerful analytics and reports, allowing them to better understand the performance of their diversity and inclusion policies.