Inclusion is a sense of belonging that a person has which emanates from feeling respected, valued and supported. It also includes being able to recognise commitment from others in the workplace that you can do your best. Because of this, inclusion involves everyone and employers should work regularly to address barriers in the workplace that may cause people to feel excluded because of who they are.
Why is inclusion important in the workplace?
- Reassures people that they can come forward with new ideas.
- A wider diverse pool of people who feel that they are working together has been shown to improve productivity and creativity.
- It is morally and ethically important and contributes to the social capital of an organisation in terms of service users and clients.
- There is a reduced likelihood of staff disagreements and/or disengagement which can be costly in terms of staff retention and finding resolutions to disputes.
- In healthcare it can help people develop confidence to challenge processes and procedures which may not be in keeping with patient or staff safety (see article on Human Factors and equality training).
The video clip below is from Accenture, which effectively shows issues that can arise in the workplace and how inclusion impacts everyone.
Main measures to promote inclusion
- Ensure there are visible, diverse, senior leaders and role models in the organisation committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) with evidence to support it to help build employee trust.
- Provide access to awareness training around EDI to all employees. Allow time for wider learning through group work and forums.
- Provide opportunities for teams to reflect on how they work and how to improve engagement from everyone. Ensure teams are supported.
- Focus on hiring and promotional practices and offer unconscious bias awareness sessions to employees. Audit the process to measure outcome.
- Provide opportunities for learning and improvement which involves everyone in the organisation.
- Ensure policies and PR images are reflective of the diverse workforce and stakeholders and use inclusive examples and language.
- Challenge stereotypes which may impede cohesive team working due to prejudice about characteristics such as age, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation.