Profiting from diversity: a guide to harnessing diversity for the benefit of your business




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Glossary


BAME – black, Asian and minority ethnic. Increasingly being used as a general term to refer to people who belong to an ethnic group that is numerically smaller than the predominant white group in Britain.


Bisexual – a man or woman who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to both males and females.


BME – Black and minority ethnic. Used to describe people who belong to an ethnic group that is numerically smaller than the predominant white group in Britain. Increasingly being replaced by BAME.


Culture – the system of common beliefs, norms and traditions that distinguish one group of people from another.


Disability – the loss or limitation of opportunities that prevents people who have physical, sensory and mental impairments from taking part in the life of the community on an equal level with others owing to physical and social barriers.


Diversity – the differences in the values, attitudes, culture, beliefs, ethnic background, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, physical ability, age and life experiences of each individual in any group of people. It can also be used to identify employee, customer or supplier needs.


Diversity group – a group of people from one of the following equality groups – women, trans people, disabled people, BAME people, lesbian, gay and bisexual people, older and younger people and people of faith.


Diversity layers – the different diversity attributes and experiences that each person possesses. For example, a person could be female, Asian Indian, 68 years old (an older person), Hindu and profoundly deaf (disabled). In this instance, the person has five layers of diversity, some of which are visible and others are not.


Diversity strategy – a plan to build business strength, competitive advantage and an inclusive culture for all by encouraging the recruitment of and valuing a diverse workforce and pool of suppliers.


Diversity training – a structured programme of learning that promotes employee understanding of the business case for diversity. Diversity training enhances the ability of employees to work collectively to maximise the potential of attaining and exceeding organisational goals.


Employee networks – a group of individuals, usually of the same equality group, e.g. women, disabled people or Asian employees, who establish contact so that they can positively influence career outcomes for their group, such as increased job opportunities or income, promotion and career satisfaction.


Equal opportunities – the development of practices that promote fair and equal chances for all to reach their full potential in all aspects of life and the removal of the barriers of discrimination and oppression experienced by certain groups.


Equalities – all work to address issues of discrimination and disadvantage in service delivery and employment practices, particularly as it relates to race, disability, gender, sexuality, faith and age.


Ethnicity – an individual’s identification with a group sharing one or more of the following: nationality, lifestyles, religion, customs and language.


Experiential learning – learning through doing. Participants discover what something feels like, and what it means to them. Experiential learning is particularly effective because of its holistic approach of addressing the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of the learner.


Religion or Belief – religion or religious or philosophical beliefs.


Flexible working – policies that enable employees to have a certain amount of flexibility about the hours they work; what time they start and finish work each day; the length and timing of holidays; and where they work.


Gay – refers to gay men or women and is preferred to the word ‘homosexual’, which is clinical in origin (implying a condition or illness) and is usually viewed as an offensive term by gay people. The word ‘gay’ is normally attributed to men. However, it can be used as an all-encompassing term for gay men, lesbians and bisexual people.


Gay man – a man who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to men.


Gender – a concept that refers to the social differences between men and women that have been learned, are changeable over time and have wide variations both within and between cultures. The term is often used to differentiate from ‘sex’, which refers to biological differences.


Inclusive culture – an environment where customers, community members, employees, investors and suppliers from all equality groups feel that they are equally valued and that they receive equal treatment and respect.


Lesbian – a woman who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to women. Not all lesbians are comfortable with the term and some choose to identify themselves as either gay or gay women.


LGBT – a term that refers to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.


Mainstreaming – the integration of equalities into policy development, implementation, evaluation and review. Each part of the organisation accepts its own responsibility for promoting equality of opportunity and challenging discrimination.


Mentor – a mentor helps an individual raise their capability to handle increasing job responsibilities by enabling them, for example, to increase their knowledge of the organisation; experience greater comfort in trying things; know themselves better; learn the unwritten rules of the organisation, etc.


Mentoring circle – a group of, usually, between three and eight individuals who meet together regularly to be mentored.


One-on-one mentoring – mentoring between one individual and a mentor.


Positive action – initiatives taken to tackle the marked levels of historical under-representation of women, ethnic minorities or other diversity groups. This is legal in the UK.

Positive discrimination – recruiting or promoting people on the basis of, for example, their gender or race. This is illegal in the UK.


Race – a social concept that refers to the physical differences between people from different parts of the world. Generally concerns the colour of a person’s skin, their national origin or ethnic group.


Reverse mentoring – when a less senior person in the organisation provides mentoring to someone more senior to enable them to understand the issues experienced by someone with different layers of diversity to themselves, such as being from a younger generation or a different ethnic group.


Sexuality – a person’s emotional, physical and/or sexual attraction and the expression of that attraction. It is not a choice people make; rather, sexuality is something that a person is born with. Sexuality refers to gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual (or ‘straight’) people.


Straight person – a person who is emotionally, physically and/or sexually attracted to people of a different sex to themselves.


Trans person – an individual who has a desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex from that to which they were born (men who feel they should have been born female and vice versa). A trans person does not have to have undergone surgery. Trans issues relate to gender identity not sexuality.


Please note that this glossary does not include legal definitions of terms.



1 www.london.gov.uk/mayor/equalities/docs/construction_industry_feb07.pdf

2 www.diversityworksforlondon.com/upload/pdf/sector_research_dwfl.pdf

3 European cities monitor (2005) Cushman and Wakefield/Healey and Baker

4 Gay men earn £10k more than the national average (23rd January 2006) The Guardian

5 Updated estimate of the numbers of disabled people, including people with limiting longstanding illness, and their associated spending power (2006) Department for Work and Pensions

6 Redefining London’s BME-owned Businesses (2005) London Development Agency

7 The economic contribution of older people (2003) Pamela Meadows and William Cook, Age Concern England

8 Redefining London’s BME-owned businesses (2005) London Development Agency

9 Census (2001) Office for National Statistics

10 Census (2001) Office for National Statistics, Standard Table ST103

11 The Greater London Authority’s Disability Equality Scheme (2005) Greater London Authority

12 The job (January 2005) Metropolitan Police

13 Population projections (2005) DMAG

14 Women in London’s Economy (2005) Greater London Authority Economics

15 Flexibility pays: a practical guide to flexible working (2005) People Networks, BT Group plc

16 Labour force survey (2002/03) Office for National Statistics

17 Recruitment, retention and turnover: annual survey report (2005) CIPD

18 Business in the Community (2003)

19 London BME action plan theme 6: information, data and research (2005) London Development Agency

20 Line managers and diversity: making it real (2005) Opportunity Now

21 The company manufactures chemicals

22 Better world – our commitment to society: social and environmental report (200). For further information see: www.btplc.com/societyandenvironment/pdf/2002/suppliers2002.pdf

23 The company is a large business-to-business service provider



© London Development Agency 2008 - Publication date: 17/10/2012

Disclaimer: This document has been prepared for information purposes only. To the extent permitted by law, neither the publisher nor the author accepts or assumes any liability, responsibility or duty of care for any use of or reliance on this document by recipient.
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