At present, anti-discrimination and diversity promotion activities are not fully implemented in employment relations in Latvia. At the EU level, more than 50% of companies have a diversity management policy in place, according to a study by the European Commission. Although Latvian companies recognise the positive impact of diversity management on the working environment and on the competitive performance of a company both in the labour market and in its industry, they only implement some diversity management measures and do not define diversity management as a separate management policy.
The management of Latvian companies is generally willing to adapt the working environment to the needs of different employees as far as possible, but in fact diversity management measures are significantly more often implemented in large companies (64%) compared to small and medium-sized enterprises (23%). Thus, diversity management is rarely included in company policy documents and insufficiently implemented in practice, even though employee diversity is already a reality in Latvian companies. Thus, many companies have not yet realised that employee diversity is a resource that must be managed competently to benefit both the company and its employees.
Objective of the activity
There is a need to raise the profile of diversity management, its positive impact on the working environment and on a company's competitiveness among entrepreneurs, as well as to support and promote the good practices of employers who have made significant contributions to reducing discrimination and promoting equality through their day-to-day work, thereby contributing to the implementation of an inclusive working environment in practice.
In order to promote the prevention of discrimination in employment relations and to foster employers' openness to diversity management, this project implements support measures for employers to promote an inclusive working environment, including the evaluation and recognition of employers' practices. Support measures will be carried out by inviting applications from any interested employer, whose performance will be assessed according to pre-defined criteria. At the same time, examples of good practice will be summarised and recognition will be given to those entrepreneurs who have implemented the principles of diversity management in the governance of their respective companies.
In parallel, public awareness-raising events will be held on diversity management opportunities in Latvian companies, encouraging public recognition of the companies that successfully respond to the diverse needs of their employees.
Support measures to promote an inclusive working environment and diversity management target employers and their employees.
Support measures to promote an inclusive working environment and diversity management:
To stimulate employers' interest and motivation towards creating an inclusive working environment, being open to diversity management and implementing diversity principles, support measures are being organised for employers (merchants), thus raising awareness that diversity is a resource and a driving force for organisational development, gaining attractiveness in the eyes of employees and the ability to attract employees with diverse competences. The service is being provided through a service provider that maintains up-to-date anti-discrimination measures and runs an annual competition for employers – "Diversity is Strength" (evaluation of employers based on criteria developed by the service provider for evaluating employers) – across categories such as the employer most open to diversity and the most innovative solution for promoting an inclusive working environment, among others. Identification of good practices for the integration of persons of the target group into the labour market based on an assessment of the employers' working environment, e.g. through face-to-face interviews with the employer's executive and head of human resources, as well as through a survey of the employer's working environment, thus promoting an inclusive working environment and diversity in business in Latvia. Any employer (merchant) can apply to participate in this activity.
For more details on the activities implemented so far to support employers as part of Diversity is Strength, visit the Diversity is Strength website and/or apply for the annual Employer Appreciation Contest www.dazadiba.lv.
By the end of 2022, the project is to provide at least five good practice activities for the integration of the project's target groups - persons at risk of social exclusion and discrimination - into the labour market.