The importance of inclusion: What companies need to know and why?

Diversity and inclusion are not new concepts when it comes to organisational innovation and performance. However, what many companies fail to understand is that these are two different sides of the same coin, and not to be used interchangeably. As an articleby Forbes explains –

“Diversity is the who and the what: who’s sitting around the table, who’s being recruited, who’s being promoted, who we’re tracking from the traditional characteristics and identities of gender (…), ethnicity (…), sexual orientation (…), disability – inherent diversity characteristics that we’re born with. Inclusion, on the other hand, is the how. Inclusion is the behaviours that welcome and embrace diversity.”

Studies show that diversity can have a positive impact on employee engagement. And when companies fail to have a diverse workforce, they miss out on getting the best ideas, developing better employee relationships, maintaining their competitive edge, attracting and retaining the best talent, and having a strong company culture.

While diversity is typically attributed to differences in religion, gender, ethnicity, family status, and age, it also includes a difference in ideas, thought processes, personalities, creative and analytical skills and so on. However, many companies fail to understand that simply creating an atmosphere of diversity is not enough. They also need to have inclusive policies in place.

Business case for inclusion

PwC commissioned a survey in 2017 which revealed that 86% of female and 74% of male millennials considered an organisation’s policy on diversity, equality, and inclusion when deciding which company to work for.

Furthermore, a researchconducted by Harvard Business Review found that employees who worked in an inclusive environment were 1.3 times more likely to be innovative. Also, such work atmosphere and leadership helped employees feel included in their work groups and were 42% less likely to leave their job within the first year.

Thus, inclusive policies help businesses grow by improving employee performance, job satisfaction, retention, creativity, and the team’s willingness to help and mentor other employees.

But then, how can companies ensure that they cultivate a culture of inclusivity?

1) Inclusion at workplace – getting it right

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”- Harvard Business Review

Just having a diverse representation is not enough. Companies need to have inclusive policies in place to reap benefits.

2) It all starts from the top

As is the case with any aspect of company culture, developing and ensuring a sense of belonging in the workplace should begin at the leadership level. Organisation leaders should be open to not only working with people across gender, race, and religion but also encourage homogeneity of ideas, thoughts and unconventional approaches. Building a healthy, inclusive culture begins with letting employees know that they can be exactly who they are. and starting this with leaders makes it easy to extend the attitude throughout the organisation.

3) Allow active participation of all employees

Traditional managers unconsciously tend to curb creativity. They expect employees to walk along the guardrails of established work processes without trying to break the conventions. Inclusive managers, however, seek active participation from all employees – they take into account the diverse knowledge, ideas, perceptions and approaches their work groups has to share. They set the basic goals and invite employees to be think outside the box – irrespective of that employee’s place in the ‘hierarchy’.

4) Go beyond the usual talent pool

Hiring managers often have an established formula to assess potential candidates – they focus on traditional recruitment channels, bid for the same talent pool, and rely on the same credentials that everyone else relies on. To be truly inclusive, managers need to be open-minded and tactical enough to look into talent pools that other companies often overlook. This helps their company to be more diverse and tap into a vast source of talent that others conveniently ignore.

This is where TalentSpa steps in to fulfil your recruitment needs by shortlisting the right candidates from a diverse talent pool. Get in touch with us today or connect with us on Twitter and LinkedInto get more such insights.

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