The Importance of Inclusion In the Workplace

Sure, you may realize an inclusive workplace is important from a social standpoint, but what about from a monetary standpoint?

Inclusion and talent management

Inclusion and talent management

Most corporate leaders focus on inclusion only in terms of making sure their workplace is one that’s comfortable for employees of all backgrounds, but what they don’t realize is the benefits can go beyond simply having happy employees.

The Financial Facts of an Inclusive Workplace

As the landscape of America’s workforce continues to shift, there’s been a great deal of research on the topic of inclusiveness in the workplace, and how it’s important in a multi-faceted way, including economically.

The Center for American Progress put together its own list of how an inclusive workplace is beneficial.

The list includes the following:

  • It’s not just the workforce that’s changing in terms of demographics—it’s also the consumers. When you have a diverse, broadly inclusive workplace, you’re going to be able to remain more competitive by having a better perspective on what it is a variety of consumers are seeking within your industry.
  • When you work on creating an inclusive workplace, you’re going to have opportunities to recruit and retain the very best and brightest talent from a broader pool of employees. This means, of course, you’ll be able to put together the best and brightest workforce.
  • In a Forbes study that surveyed more than 300 global companies, 85 percent of respondents agreed diversity is important to foster innovation.
  • By 2050, it’s anticipated there will be no racial or ethnic majority in the United States, which means it’s important for companies to be ahead of these trends and demonstrate a dedicated to a diverse and inclusive workforce that will be represented of America’s population.

Additionally, Catalyst recently published a global report, with results showing when employees feel more included in the workplace, they’re more likely to strive for higher levels of productivity and achievement. The study looked at both males and females from countries around the globe, and when people from diverse backgrounds felt included and that there was an appreciation for differences along with shared goals and a sense of teamwork, the result was more innovation and a higher performing workforce in general.

The Uh Oh Syndrome discusses how individuals react and respond to those who sound, act and look different from them.

Paving the Way for Inclusion

Recognizing the value of an inclusive workplace is the easy part.

So how do you make it happen?

  • Before you put methods in place to improve your company’s sense of inclusion, delve into the attitudes and opinions of employees to see where gaps may exist. A good way to begin this is by looking at data obtained through retention reports, as well as exit interviews. Gauge how current employees feel about your corporate culture, particularly as it pertains to diversity and inclusion.
  • Training and development really do have an impact. Many employers believe the false idea that inclusion and diversity training is ineffective. Research shows otherwise. Three researchers looked at senior managers at Rockwell Automation, most of whom where white and male. They found that after four months of having these managers attend regular training and development courses, the experience changed not only the beliefs of these men, but also their behaviors in the workplace.
  • Put into practice programs like mentorship, coaching and sponsorship. We talked a great deal in previous posts about sponsorship and its importance in terms of retaining female talent, and helping them move upward and these are concepts that don’t just apply to women, but to all employees from diverse backgrounds. These type of personal relationships and advocating on the behalf of employees tend to make them feel like they are part of the workplace and have real opportunities for networking and getting ahead.
  • Focus on how you hire. If your employees are primarily one gender or one race, you aren’t likely to see much of a need for inclusion strategies, but you’re also probably missing out on important skills, talents and perspectives that come from a diverse workplace. Focus on diversity and inclusion through your recruitment practices.

As the face of America changes, more companies are realizing they must do the same, particularly when it comes to their talent management strategies. Diversity and inclusion efforts are beneficial for everyone, from employees, to the corporation’s bottom line, and they’re an imperative part of remaining a dynamic part of the American economy.

Read related articles:

DIVERSITY’S DIRTY SECRET

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION: BEYOND COMPLIANCE

October 9, 2014   Updated :February 4, 2016   inclusion, workplace   

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