DE&I Insights

In today’s changing business world, embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also crucial for success. The BFA recognises the importance of DE&I in shaping the future of franchising and business as a whole. Our goal is to make DE&I a fundamental part of how franchising operates, ensuring it’s at the heart of our values and practices.

To achieve this, we’ve created the DE&I Insight Sessions in collaboration with McDonald’s Restaurants. These sessions are more than just talks; they’re opportunities for learning, sharing, and taking meaningful action. Broadcast live across our social media channels over 4 months starting in October 2023, if you missed the session live, you can catch-up by clicking the relevant tiles below to watch and read more content on that topic.

McDonald's Restaurants

It’s a huge privilege for us to partner with the BFA and colleagues from the sector on the Inclusion Insight Sessions. At McDonald’s, we are a people business and we’re committed to providing opportunities for all, so promoting inclusion and accessibility to the franchise sector – and all aspiring entrepreneurs – is incredibly important to us.

What to expect

Each Insight Session will feature panel discussions hosted by Pip Wilkins, BFA CEO, along with representatives from franchising and business communities.

The panellists tackle specific aspects of diversity, delving into the unique challenges faced by different groups. They also explore solutions, how business practices have adapted, and share personal experiences along with answering any questions submitted during the live event at the end of the session.

Equality & inclusion in UK business

LGBTQIA+ insights

Disability insights

Racial & cultural insights

Insights & opportunities for young people

Improving equality, diversity & inclusion in the workplace

Expert advice brought to you by Citation, Health & Safety, HR and Employment Law specialists and Supplier Members of the BFA.

Promoting, managing and encouraging equality and diversity in your workforce is key to a thriving and successful business. No matter how big your business, making sure all your employees are treated fairly is vitally important. It can be a bit of a minefield, but the experts at Citation are here to make it all a bit easier. 

What do we mean by equality, diversity and inclusion? 

Equality and diversity are slightly different from each other – but both equally important. 

By equality, we mean treating individuals fairly regardless of their age or sex, for example. You’re probably already aware of this as it relates to discrimination and your legal duties under the Equality Act 2010.  

Diversity and inclusion are more about the range of different people in your workplace and how you make them feel valued. It’s about having a team made up of people from different backgrounds, abilities, ethnicities, ages, genders etc, and recognising and respecting those differences. 

It’s good to have a diverse team as everyone will bring new ideas and perspectives to the workplace. By doing this, you’ll build a more successful workforce and allow your business to thrive. 

What are your legal responsibilities? 

The Equality Act 2010 means you have a duty to treat all your employees (and prospective employees) fairly, and not to discriminate against them on the grounds of nine protected characteristics, which are; Age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, disability and marriage/civil partnership.

Employers also need to make sure their employees don’t discriminate against their colleagues on these grounds too. All your employees will be members of at least a few of these protected characteristics so it’s important to recognise these to avoid any instances of discrimination. 

Why is equality, diversity and inclusion so important? 

Good equality, diversity and inclusion in a business can lead to better business performance, increased employee engagement and better recruitment and retention. There are loads of business benefits, like; A wide range of skills, perspectives and experience to draw on, competitive edge that puts you above other employers, improved employee engagement, motivation and involvement and stronger connection with your customers.

But your legal obligations are also a great reason to improve equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Right now, you can be held responsible for the discriminatory acts of your employees, unless you can show that you’ve taken all reasonable steps to prevent them from happening – like providing proper, up-to-date and effective training to both employees and managers. 

Direct and indirect discrimination 

When it comes to the Equality Act 2010, you need to be aware of the different types of discrimination – the main two being direct and indirect. 

Direct discrimination 

Direct discrimination is treating an individual unfairly because of one of their protected characteristics. For example, not promoting an individual because they are transgender and instead giving the role to a less qualified, cisgender candidate. 

As an employer, you also shouldn’t ask any questions about a candidate’s protected characteristics in an interview – e.g. asking someone’s age, asking if they are, or are planning to get pregnant, and you should only ask health questions at the recruitment stage, where you can show that they relate to the person’s ability to take on part of their role. 

You’ll also need to think about any reasonable adjustments you could make so a candidate can perform the role. 

Indirect discrimination 

This comes in the form of any company rules, policies and procedures that apply to all employees, but might unintentionally put a particular group of people at a disadvantage based on a protected characteristics. An example of this could be asking all your employees to work on a Sunday, which could indirectly discriminate against members of certain religions who can’t work on this day due to their beliefs. 

If it did put a protected group at a disadvantage, you’d need to be able to show that the rules or policy were a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate business need – but this can be difficult to prove. 

How to promote equality and diversity in the workplace 

When it comes to creating an equal, diverse and inclusive environment, it’s all about finding ways to embed it through your culture. Here’s just a few ways you can do it… 

Consider a policy 

It isn’t a legal requirement for a business to have an equality and diversity policy, but it can be a useful tool to set out your stance with your people from the outset. 

Employee surveys 

If you want to find out how your people feel about the way your business handles equality and diversity, ask them! This is a great way for everyone to express their feelings and ideas anonymously. 

Education and training 

To create a culture where equality and diversity is engaged with proactively, building training is a good plan. It’ll help your managers champion equality, diversity and inclusion and have it at the heart of their management style. 

Organisational culture and values 

How do you exercise your values on a daily basis? You could do this by encouraging engagement with events like LGBT History Month, openly communicating with your employees about equality, diversity and inclusion, and asking for suggestions and feedback from all your staff. 

Got more questions? 

For more information about how Citation can help you out with all things equality, diversity and inclusion fill out their callback form and they’ll get right back to you. And remember to let them know you’re a BFA member when enquiring to access preferential rates! 

Subscribe to the BFA magazine, news and updates

Are you a BFA Member? Don't forget to log in to the BFA Hub to access unique products and discounts.