Inclusion at work refers to the degree of tolerance and acceptance that a workplace has towards all its different employees. Companies now have some of the most diverse work environments, with companies expanding rapidly across borders and the rise in remote branches. Therefore, the need for inclusivity in the workplace is no longer a privilege but a priority. For many companies, involving employees from around the globe gives a company a better chance to innovate and thus, succeed.
Often, the words diversity and inclusion are used interchangeably or in conjunction. The need to have an inclusive workplace originated from the fact that a current workplace is a diverse place. At the same time, ensuring that a workplace is diverse requires its employees and the employer to have an inclusive mindset. Therefore, diversity refers to the differences that may be found in the workplace, and inclusion at work refers to the process of unifying these differences.
Diversity and inclusion do not only extend to individuals coming from different ethnicities or having different skin colors. Rather, it also includes welcoming and showing tolerance towards individuals having different opinions, personalities, etc. Thus, there are differences between co-workers having the same race and other innate features but differing on others.
Happy employees are a major contributor to the overall success of an enterprise. Not only do they showcase better productivity, but they also attract others as well. In some cases, healthy workplaces can have an effect on customers as well. Therefore, having a non-inclusive environment can create a work environment that is not only appreciated by minorities but also by other employees.
This can result in an overall decrease in productivity due to stress-related reasons. In fact, inclusive workplaces see 5.4 times more employee retention. The reason is that inclusion at work in the workplace makes it possible for everyone to voice their opinions and for these ideas to receive value as well.
Restricting the recruitment to only a few social groups or a single-sex can drastically reduce the available talent pool. Consider the statistic that 7.4% of the CEOs present in the Fortune 500 List are women. This can discredit the belief that women present in authority are less likely to succeed.
So is the case with the companies that tend to favor individuals belonging to a particular race. Tech giants have recruitment drives worldwide to find individuals that could contribute to their company irrespective of their race or gender.
The presence of inclusivity also helps a company obtain better perspectives on certain decisions. Consider the process of marketing a product. A more inclusive marketing team will have individuals from a variety of backgrounds, all having different perspectives. Therefore, the ideas are more diverse and may even be beneficial if the company is targeting a niche or broad target audience.
Differing perspectives may also help a company make more informed decisions, which can potentially be game-changing for the company’s overall growth. Implementing certain innovations is another upside of inclusion at work since the company can develop several pathways to make it possible.
Encouraging an inclusive workplace will also mean eradicating conscious as well as unconscious bias. Employees are able to function in an environment that gives every employee the same respect and importance.
In addition to this, it will also reduce the chances of an individual becoming a victim of certain forms of sexual harassment. Therefore, the company will not be required to take action against perpetrators or provide compensation to victims. The eradication of bias can create opportunities for employees having disadvantages rather than privileges.
Another major aspect involves the financial gains a company tends to receive when the workplace is welcoming to all individuals. Take, for example, a workplace that gives equal opportunities to all its employees. According to research, the employees here are 44% more likely to stay in these companies.
Therefore, a company need not worry about losing employees at inconvenient times or carrying out the process of customer onboarding and training. In addition to this, companies with small racial gaps see 11.1 percent revenue growth in a single quartile. This is compared to the 8.1% revenue growth shown by companies having a more significant racial gap.
Now that the benefits or implications of a workplace have been brought to light, a company can now work towards fostering a sense of inclusion. This can be done by a variety of methods, including training programs or activities. Therefore, the process of increasing inclusion at work will require the following strategies:
The creation of inclusion at work starts with the recruitment process. The presence of any kind of bias at this juncture could lead to a less diverse workplace. Therefore, the team that reviews applications should make it a point to evaluate an individual on the basis of their merit.
Managers represent the head of individual business operations. Therefore, every employee will be reporting to one manager or another. For this reason, training the individual that has the most interaction with several employees in a day can greatly contribute to inclusion. In the training industry, it is known as inclusive leadership. In addition to this, if a manager makes it a point for an employee to feel more included, the other employees are likely to follow suit.
The company can also show how welcoming they are towards new cultures by recognizing the holidays that are important in their culture. For example, the Chinese New Year, Diwali, and so on. The company can also make it a point for every employee to showcase their culture or religious beliefs in a manner that is not offensive to others.
These teams or committees would ensure that the policies created by the company regarding the employees do not discriminate or exclude any group. In addition to this, they can also act as communication channels for employees who feel that the workplace can be more inclusive. This can especially benefit companies having a larger scale since these groups can get feedback from every employee. Thus, it acts as a bridge between the higher management and the lower rung employees.
To make the process of incorporation of an inclusive workplace more streamlined, educating new recruits can go a long way. Not only will they realize that the company will welcome them without prejudice, but they are also encouraged to do the same. They will also be told about certain resources like the inclusion committee, which will be their sounding board in case they face any kind of bias.
Every company has annual or periodic activities to build relationships between their employees. Thus, it would be a good idea to make these activities more inclusive so that they can contribute to the overall work environment in the future. A few ideas include having a diversity calendar, among others.
However, a good starting point for introducing inclusion at work would be participating in a Diversity and Inclusion Training workshop actively. This program should be interactive and have lasting implications. Thus, the workplace can become a safe place for any and all employees looking to make a living and build a career.