Equality has value and a new law

90% of the new United Kingdom Equality Act became enforceable on 01 October 2010. This new act covers every aspect of equality and diversity and adds some more responsibility for employers and public bodies. It covers many aspects of life: service in shops, school opportunities, and equal pay for similar work. It applies to people gender, race, religion, sexuality, economic and family background. The underlying theme is that everyone must have the same chances to do what they can and some people may need extra help to get those same chances.

In a project where the team have very similar backgrounds “group think” can be a destructive force: risks are missed, assumptions are not challenged and decisions are not suitably scrutinised. Diversity is useful to mitigate these.

The new Act allows positive action. For example, if a vacancy exists and there are two candidates (a man and a woman) the act allows you to choose to give the job to the woman if it will make your organisation more diverse. Whatever happens, the company cannot give the job to the woman if the man is better for the job.

The act also stops employers from forbidding people talking about what they are paid: the reason many equal pay for similar work cases could not be uncovered. This is new and some employers may find their previous employment contracts are challenged. This can cause difficulties for project team’s motivations.

As a project manager, managing disruptions due to external changes is part of the role. What is the best approach? Do you meet with every one and get things out in the open? Do you set aside time for the team to do this without you? Do you make it plain that your project should not be put at risk by the teams personal contract issues? Do you acknowledge that motivation for the organisation might be diminished but you are committed to your project team and you ask for the same commitment from them? All of those will work but only in the right circumstances. Recognise the culture and that there may be a need to take action but choose your actions wisely.

About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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