Inclusivity in the workplace means creating a space where all individuals feel valued and supported regardless of their backgrounds, identities, or characteristics.
Inclusion in the workplace – definition and explanation
Inclusion in the workplace refers to creating an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported – regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of their identity.
The purpose of inclusion is to foster a sense of belonging and ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to participate, contribute, and grow.
Closely related to the concept of diversity
The definition of inclusion in the workplace is closely related to the concept of diversity.
Diversity refers to the differences among people (their backgrounds, cultures, etc.), whereas inclusion, on the other hand, is about leveraging those differences to create a more productive and fulfilling workplace.
Thus, inclusion is not just about having a diverse workforce; it is about creating a culture that embraces and values diversity.
The benefits of workplace inclusion
There are several benefits of workplace inclusion. Below are three reasons to exemplify its importance and its benefits.
1. Greater profitability
According to research conducted by Deloitte, companies with diverse and inclusive teams outperform their peers. In fact, the study shows that inclusive companies generate up to 30% higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors.
This shows that organizations must be diverse – because diversity does not exist without inclusion.
2. Promotes innovation and creativity
When employees with diverse backgrounds come together, they bring different perspectives, approaches, and solutions to the table. This diversity of thought can lead to more creative problem-solving and better decision-making.
Additionally, when employers feel included, they are more likely to be positively engaged within the organization – and higher employee engagement drives higher levels of productivity, retention, and general success for the company.
3. Fosters a sense of belonging
Another benefit of inclusion in the workplace is that it fosters a sense of belonging, which drives increased positive performance results.
For instance, it can lead to collaborative teams who are innovative and engaging.
In turn, this leads to greater engagement, motivation, and loyalty among employees.
If employees feel that they are included in the community of the company, where their contributions are valued, they are more likely to be committed to their work – and to the company’s goals.
Strategies to ensure inclusion in the workplace
According to Forbes, inclusive workplaces are better at innovation, recognizing and stopping exclusion, and attracting and retaining top talent.
Here are some strategies that organizations can use to ensure inclusion in the workplace:
- Clear commitment to diversity and inclusion: Establish a clear and explicit commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which should be reflected in the company’s mission statement, values, and policies. The company’s leaders should also communicate this to employers, customers, and stakeholders to keep it a part of the company’s image.
- Foster a culture of respect and inclusivity: Actively foster a culture of respect and inclusivity. For example, companies can promote open communication, active listening, and empathy. It can also mean addressing any instances of discrimination, harassment, or bias promptly and effectively to keep it from happening again.
- Diversity training: Provide employees with diversity and inclusion training to help them understand the importance of diversity and inclusion. Training also helps them identify their own unconscious bias and teaches them how to communicate and collaborate effectively with people from different backgrounds.
- Hire and promote objectively: This includes making a conscious effort to recruit and promote employees from diverse backgrounds – for instance, by expanding the candidate pool, using objective selection criteria, and providing equal opportunities for all candidates (such as blind hiring).
- Create affinity groups for support: Such groups provide a forum for employees with shared identities or interests to connect, support each other, and promote awareness of diversity and inclusion issues. However, be aware of affinity bias and make sure to welcome all individuals in the groups.
- Evaluate and measure inclusion progress: Companies should regularly assess their diversity and inclusion efforts and measure their impact by using employee surveys, diversity metrics, and other evaluation tools to keep improving.