When you think of the word ‘inclusion’ you likely think of being included. For some people, thinking about being included brings up memories of high school, the playground, or even being with siblings. Although the idea of workplace inclusion is similar, there is a bit more to it than simply not being left out.
What is workplace inclusion? Workplace inclusion is the concept of treating all employees equally with the same availability of opportunities, resources, and the possibility of success. There is no one employee that is assumed to have an advantage based on race, gender, background, or other precursor to employment.
While workplace inclusion might seem like a standard to avoid discriminatory practices, it moves past discrimination and into the avoidance of workplace cliques. By knowing how to rid employees of any bias that they might have formed in the workplace, companies have the ability to thrive with a diverse workforce and find ultimate success.
How Workplace Inclusion Affects Productivity and Success
Could maintaining an inclusive workplace truly have an effect on productivity and overall success? What factors might be altered by simply including everyone and treating employees in the same manner? The level of diversity in the workplace, team building, and employee retention are some of the most prominent aspects of inclusion amongst employees.
The Benefits of Diversity
Including people of all types provides a more diverse workforce. Having diversity in the workplace invites a broader range of thought, increased creativity, a boost in productivity, and improves the talent pool within the office. Understanding exactly how these factors are related to inclusion can help to explain why it is important to ensure that a diverse workforce is made a priority.
Being inclusive means employing a wide variety of people and listening to their ideas. Where a man might approach a situation or problem in one way, a woman might see things differently. An individual with an ivy league education might solve a problem with a textbook solution and someone that earned his or her GED could get creative. Diversity fosters an environment where ideas and thought processes vary and the dreaded groupthink is less of a concern.
It is because of the variety in people that creativity is improved. Corporate environments can stifle creativity by requiring uniformity amongst its employees. However, by having an inclusive workplace, companies have the ability to squash the expected uniformity and invite in an open atmosphere for creativity.
Fostering creativity only serves to bring productivity to new highs. Coupled with a broader allowance for thought and ideas, productivity can go beyond expectations. By simply offering all employees the same resources and availability of opportunities within the workplace, people of all backgrounds will simultaneously work harder and smarter to succeed.
With a team of diverse individuals, the company’s talent pool is much larger. Despite the varying degrees of education that a diverse and inclusive workplace would include, there would also be people that excelled in certain areas with or without higher education. Rather than tossing every resume that doesn’t have a certain aspect in the trash, an inclusive and diverse company now has a whole slew of individuals with a variety of talents that can add something extra and special to the mix of employees.
Remembering the advantages a diverse workforce will offer a company should be enough incentive to employ one. However, if there are any doubts as to why inclusivity is important, discovering how it can help build a more effective team should inspire employers to make it a priority.
A team that leaves members out of certain aspects of the business is one that creates division in the team. Picture feeling like the odd man out in a company where everyone else seems to work together. Leaving out one single person has a way of causing fissures in the team bond.
When one person is left out, he or she might feel as though it if not necessary to offer up his or her best work. Not only does this damage the employee’s productivity rate, but the overall productivity rate for the whole company. On the other hand, when every person is included at work, productivity soars. Why? Because of the team building that occurs when everyone has equal opportunities.
The existence of equality in an office provides employees the ability to work together and communicate on a daily basis. Many coworkers develop friendships as employers foster an environment where team building is crucial. Building relationships with coworkers should be just as, if not more, important than those with clients.
This is not to say that team building diminishes a competitive aspect between coworkers. In fact, providing employees with a workplace where opportunities are equal despite background creates more competition. Anyone might be aiming for the newest management spot, whether they have a degree or not. The best way to show his or her capabilities and dedication is through hard work and ultimately outperforming coworkers. Between team building and a competitive workplace, productivity is sure to soar.
Employee retention is often highly connected to employee satisfaction. A worker that is not given the same availability of opportunities, doesn’t have the access to resources that his or her co-workers do, or is written of as a low level employee with no chance of a future promotion is likely a worker with low job satisfaction. If a company is looking to improve employee retention, as all companies should, it must place a focus on workplace inclusion.
Making employees feel included in the workforce has a way of increasing satisfaction. This is because an inclusive workplace is one that fosters growth for all employees. Rather than building up a few employees that might rise to the challenge of a future promotion, a workforce that is inclusive will train all employees to the same.level. Doing so will make each employee feel important and ad though they have a chance at rising through the ranks.
Employers that offer their employees a future are often the ones that retain workers. While there are a number of other factors that come into play, including all employees in the workplace can have a huge effect. By retaining employees as a higher rate, companies can spend less time and money on introductory training and more on developing the long term employees that they have.
How to Ensure Workplace Inclusion
Maintaining an inclusive workplace requires a handful of actions on the employer’s part. These actions include diversity training, quality meetings, and encouraging higher ups to interact with all people. By developing a workforce where all people are treated equally and fairly, inclusivity can be natural.
Diversity training is a program that teaches employees how to work with individuals with different cultures, destroys discrimination, rids the company and its workers of predjudices, and creates an environment for in which teamwork amongst diverse people thrives. A company maintaining inclusivity will be one that places an emphasis on the training program and makes it a recurring requirement.
It should also be a requirement for meetings to be held by various individuals. Many companies have one or two people run the meetings, which leads to repetitive, boring gatherings. In these kinds of meetings the same people talk while the usual people stay quiet. In order to create a more inclusive environment, rotate the people that hold the meetings. This invites more creativity and allows those that do not speak much in meetings feel more comfortable to do so, especially when they know the individual holding the meeting well.
Getting to know all employees is something that higher ups should do. There is no logical reason that the CEO cannot speak to the janitor or an intern. If the CEO knew the name of the intern, they would feel included in the company and likely strive more to perform his or her best. Treating individuals with respect is not only common courtesy, but it invites workplace inclusion into the business.
Creating workplace inclusion is a crucial aspect of a high quality employer. Maintaining that inclusive culture will allow companies to have diversity, a well-oiled team, and a high employee retention rate. Each of these benefits can increase productivity and make inclusion more than worth the extra training. Make workplace inclusion a priority and watch your productivity soar.
What activities are best for team bonding? Although the specific activities best for team bonding depends on the group of people, popular options include sporting events, pot lucks, monthly company dinners, and retreats.
How do large companies master inclusivity? Although having a close knit team is easier with a smaller company, those employing a lot of individuals can have workplace inclusivity by making it a priority. The entire company can be split into various groups with diverse people. Those groups can be rotated or changed annually so that everyone has a chance to work together.