What is inclusion?
Inclusion is the act of embracing all people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, education or national origin. Inclusion is about giving equal access to opportunities, eliminating discrimination and removing barriers.
Inclusion empowers people by valuing and respecting what makes them different. By making people feel included and feeling that they are essential to an organisation’s success, they will be enabled to function at their full capacity and truly feel that they are part of the organisation’s mission. Being inclusive is what helps to create high performing organisations where motivation and morale can thrive.
Here’s an example of being more inclusive in the workplace. Let’s say you have lots of diverse employees who come from all across the globe, many of whom speak English as their second language. In order to be thoughtful and inclusive you might distribute meeting materials ahead of a meeting so they have a chance to look at the materials before you start. Another example in a global organisation is to rotate meeting times. This can be really helpful for people who work from home and those in different time-zones.
What are the 4 key elements of inclusion?
This refers to whether a person’s efforts and achievements are acknowledged, their uniqueness is valued and they are treated in a positive manner.
This occurs when people feel they have opportunities for social connections and when a person is asked for their input which is implemented into work practices, they feel a sense of belonging and inclusion.
This involves feeling able to manage one’s work-life balance, a sense of flexibility, access to resources to perform at their best and a workplace that accommodates a person’s unique needs.
- Fair progression
This refers to whether people feel they have a fair chance to achieve their full potential, having a well-developed career plan, and equitable access to mentors and development opportunities.
How do you show inclusiveness at work?
- Engage diversity
In order to show inclusiveness at work, people need to actively, systematically, and continuously engage diversity and foster equity across every aspect of the organisation, as well as seeking to remove any barriers that exist.
- Educate leaders
You can show inclusiveness at work by educating your leaders on the importance of creating an inclusive culture. Inclusive leadership is key to creating a workplace where inclusion is modelled and embraced at all levels. You might form an Inclusion Council with members from a range of ethnicities, racial groups, genders, business units and geographic locations.
- Create Employee Resource Groups
Another action you might take could be celebrating employee differences through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – also known as Business Resource Groups (BRGs) – or events that recognise and celebrate diverse groups in your organisation. For example, hosting a cultural event in your cafeteria or office space with different cuisines from around the world. It’s important to listen to employees to assess the strategies that are being used to embrace change and inclusion. You can conduct surveys or town halls to find out what is working well and what is not.
- Review HR policies and procedures
Consider reviewing your company’s HR Policies and Procedures to ensure that they are inclusive of the organisation's demographic, and are up-to-date with best practices. This is to ensure systemic change in the organisation.
Understanding the four key elements of inclusion can equip people to make changes to enhance inclusion which ultimately creates higher performing organisations, happier employees who feel accepted, respected, celebrated and creates a greater sense of belonging. Most importantly, it also enables people to come to work as their authentic selves.
The best companies understand how important diversity and inclusion is. We help them become great at it through scientific measurement of their organisations culture. inclusio is a science-based, data-led diversity and inclusion platform, designed to measure, track and action diversity and inclusion across your organisation.