Benefits of a culture of inclusion
Why your business should be more inclusive
Evidence tells us that a diverse, inclusive workplace is better for business. As well as health benefits, it can increase your bottom line, too. But creating an inclusive culture doesn’t happen by accident. Or overnight. It needs change that’s driven from the top.
Can it really drive better business performance?
A report by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile of gender-diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to experience above-average profitability than peer companies in the fourth quartile. While companies in the fourth quartile of both gender and ethnic diversity were 27% more likely to underperform on profitability.
Research also suggests an inclusive culture can benefit health and wellbeing. There’s a direct link between a lack of inclusion and absenteeism, as told by Naomi Humber, Head of Mental Wellbeing at Bupa Health Clinics:
“An employee who feels psychologically safe, supported and valued as an individual will be able to perform at their best and thrive in their working environment. They are likely to be more engaged with their role and employer’s purpose. This can lead to greater productivity.
“Those who do not feel that they belong, or are unsupported within the workplace, are at increased risk of developing issues with their health and wellbeing. This in turn can adversely impact themselves and their company.”
What’s meant by an “inclusive culture”?
It means that all employees, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, are empowered to thrive.
The gap between female and male employment rates in the UK, for example, is the smallest it’s ever been. But that hasn’t translated to equal pay or leadership roles. Progression at work for men and women isn’t the same.
The same is true for black, Asian, and minority ethnic employees. While employees with a disability, or long-term health condition are faced with prejudice or a lack of support to help them reach their full potential. For employers, that’s a lot of talent slipping through the net.
As the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development says:
“Diversity recognises that, though people have things in common with each other, they are also different in many ways. Inclusion is where those differences are seen as a benefit, and where perspectives and differences are shared, leading to better decisions.”
How to make your organisation more inclusive
It starts by putting processes and practices into place to break down barriers to inclusion.
Educate your leaders in how to have the conversations that are necessary to make changes. Educate them on bias and exclusion in the workplace to increase their empathy and understanding. Take time to understand the current environment in your business. Celebrate positive practices and act where you spot any issues.
Here’s a selection of initiatives you can make to improve inclusion.
Leadership. Senior managers should be role models for inclusive behaviour. They can be trained to identify issues and act on them.
Training. Managers should get training on issues like workplace stress and mental health. This will help them to spot the warning signs of inclusion failure. It will also help them to provide appropriate support.
A workplace inclusion policy. All employees should know what the business ethos is, what’s expected of them, as well as sources of support. Improve communication with employees and be clear about any policy changes or decisions.
Recruitment training. Give management teams the skills to recruit with an inclusive attitude, and to avoid unconscious bias.
Equal pay. Regular checks should be done across an organisation to ensure this is happening.
Religious beliefs and practice. You should always make sure these are respected across your company. This includes ensuring that all employees are treated fairly, regardless of their beliefs, or lack of belief.
The wellbeing benefits are far-reaching
Inclusion gives employees a sense of belonging and a voice. It helps them to feel that their skills and abilities are valued. While as a wider organisation, it can translate to a healthier work environment, with better outcomes and reduced absenteeism.
It can also help prevent things like bullying, harassment and discrimination, which can lead to mental health or other problems.
Bupa has a range of health information to support you and your team.
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