Inclusion Topics: 8 Essential Topics For Constructive Outcomes
Organizations that offer training on diversity and inclusion topics may enjoy constructive outcomes in terms of productivity. However, many companies often don’t see the value of spending the time and capital for inclusion. But, the facts speak for themselves. Inclusive companies are reported to be more innovative, have better employee retention, and enjoy higher profits, among other benefits.
A Look at Effective Inclusion Topics
The following topics are critical to be apprehended well by all in an organization for fostering an inclusive environment:
- Diversity vs. Inclusion
It means that a workforce includes a heterogeneous mix of people representing a variety of ethnicities, genders, ages, and abilities. Diverse organizations comprise employees with various unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups are valued and integrated into an environment. Inclusive work environments allow employees from diverse backgrounds to feel welcome to bring their best, most authentic selves to work and create an overall sense of belonging. Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence, and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.
An organization where people with varying characteristics such as different genders, races, ages, colors, sexual orientations, etc., work but only the voice and opinions of some of them are heard and cared for can be diverse but not inclusive.
- Insight Into Unconscious Bias
What is also known by the terms implicit bias or hidden bias, acts as a stumbling block to achieving inclusion in a workplace. Unconscious bias refers to when somebody forms a quick opinion about a situation or person without being consciously aware of it.
Our brains naturally form biases by using knowledge of stereotypes, cultures, and other assumptions of the situation or individual. We aren’t aware of our unconscious biases, but they do impact the way we behave. Unconscious biases are stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their conscious awareness. Nearly all our thoughts and actions are influenced, at least in part, by unconscious impulses.
A survey shows that nearly 80 percent of the more than 700 participants admitted to unconscious bias, and nearly 83 percent said they had witnessed unconscious bias by others in the workplace. Training in this regard will yield substantial results in creating awareness about unconscious bias and how it hinders in fostering inclusion in your organization.
Today, a popular subject matter in psychology has become essential in studies centering on inclusion topics. This is how psychologist Derald W. Sue, who's written two books on microaggressions, defines the term: "The everyday slights, indignities, put-downs and insults that people of color, women, LGBT populations or those who are marginalized experience in their day-to-day interactions with people."
Research supports the claim that microaggressions, however small or innocent they may be, can have adverse psychological effects, including increasing anger, hindrance in productivity, and taking a toll on an individual's mental health.
None of this is hard to imagine if you simply consider how it would impact your life if you felt like you were subject to a constant stream of insults and slights and were always bracing for or recovering from an offense. It's not just about being upset, though: some researchers have found that microaggressions can even cause physical health problems.
Training helps employees recognize what microaggressions are and how to respond, whether they are on the receiving end, a witness, or have been called out for a microaggression.
- Encourage Bystander Intervention
Bystander intervention ensures that an act of forced intimidation does not turn into illegal harassment and is a significant inclusion topic. Bystander intervention is one of the most effective ways to empower employees to address and prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
By encouraging and preparing employees to take action when they witness harassing and discriminating behavior, bystander intervention training helps remove the uncertainty of not knowing when or how to intervene, especially in uncomfortable work situations. Employees understand how bystander intervention can protect targets of discrimination and harassment, discourage harassing behavior, and help prevent future incidents.
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
While talking about the inclusion topic, the focus is mainly on diversity and how to make the place a more inclusive one. Diversity gives representation to people from varied backgrounds and gives way to different opinions in the workplace. Inclusion values each individual despite the background or the skin color, makes people feel heard, and creates a sense of belonging.
The third addition to this duo is equity. Equity in the workplace exists when everyone on your team has equal access to opportunity, success, and advancement. When you create a culture of equity, you create a workplace where employees are seen, valued, and supported. In turn, employees are more likely to do their best work and less likely to leave, because they’re happier in their work and see that their efforts will be rewarded fairly.
- Sensitivity Training
Sensitivity training refers to one of the organizational development techniques that, through counseling methods, increase employee well-being, self-awareness of an individual's prejudices, and sensitivity to others.
Members of different gender, cultures, and abilities are brought together in a free and open environment, in which participants interactively discuss different issues. Providing equal, respectful treatment in the workplace begins at the point of recruitment and onboarding new employees and continues beyond the life of their tenure.
- A Multigenerational Workforce
The multigenerational workforce is a term used to describe a situation in which there are multiple generations active and available in the labor market. Here are the 5 working generations right now:
- Traditionalists – born in 1945 and before
- Baby Boomers – born between 1946 and 1964
- Generation X – born between 1965 and 1976
- Millennials – born between 1977 and 1995
- Generation Z – born in 1996 and after
This factor will impact your upcoming inclusion training and bring forth issues stemming from their expectations including- reskilling/upskilling in the age of automation, holistic employee wellness programs (with an emphasis on mental wellness), connecting work to social impact and purpose, flexible work arrangements, leveraging social media within and outside the workplace, and a myriad of other issues.
- Advocate for Gender-Identity and Expressions
The workplace has come a long way over the past several decades in the journey towards inclusion and understanding. Companies strive to make people feel comfortable and have introduced policies that support a positive employee experience. Gender identity has growing visibility, especially now, when many companies have created initiatives to celebrate Pride Month.
Companies want to attract the best talent, and gender shouldn’t be an important factor for predicting an employee’s success at work. For example, perception-based studies from the Pew Research Center show 80% of Americans believe gender doesn’t affect a person’s ability to lead.
Not only the leaders, but we all also have a responsibility to continuously challenge and ask ourselves what we can do to make every colleague feel able to simply be themselves. Perhaps then we can all be part of the solution to a truly inclusive workplace where everyone is valued for simply being who they are.
Inclusion Topics carry significant weight and are foundational in driving your company on the path to inclusivity and diversity. It is widely accepted that happy and engaged employees lead to higher productivity.