When we say workplace inclusivity, what comes to mind? You may consider factors such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. While this isn’t necessarily wrong, what you’re describing is more aligned with diversity. Inclusivity goes beyond this – it looks at how workplaces create an environment that enables employees of different backgrounds, perspectives, and characteristics to flourish.
While diversity and inclusion go hand in hand, it’s important to recognise that a workforce can be diverse at face value, without truly being inclusive. You can fulfil the diversity criteria with as wide a variety of workers as you’d like, but these efforts are made redundant without a workplace culture that values equal opportunities for contribution and success. And why exactly do businesses value inclusivity? Innovation.
Are workplaces in the UK inclusive?
One in five people in the UK don’t think their company is an inclusive place to work. Despite inclusivity improving over the years, a high 57% of employees continue to witness discrimination or a lack of inclusivity whilst at work.
The reasons for this vary from study to study. Generally speaking, the potential causes range from unequal pay, to lack of reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, and even drinking culture in the UK. Working people are demanding improvements in inclusion policies, and rightfully so. Businesses must combat these barriers to inclusivity, or they risk the loss of a cooperative, harmonic workforce. For specific studies into leading causes of a lack of inclusivity in the workplace, explore https://wearewildgoose.com/uk/news/diversity-and-inclusivity-in-the-workplace-survey-2022/.
How does inclusivity benefit our workforces?
An inclusive workforce is one where everyone of different backgrounds feels that their contributions are truly valued by their organisation. According to eduMe, such teams make better business decisions 87% of the time, and they make those decisions twice as fast within half as many meetings. Why is this?
A variety of minds, beliefs, and ways of living give us variety in how we approach different situations. For example, someone who grew up in a culture that emphasises honest and direct communication can learn a lot from those with a gentle communication style, and vice versa. Without these differences, workforces are stuck with a one-dimensional approach to business. And what suffers when your business becomes one-dimensional? Innovation.
What can I do to foster innovation with inclusivity?
Most importantly, it’s crucial for organisations to create an atmosphere of trust. When employees feel a sense of acceptance, they’re more likely to share ideas without fear of judgement, harnessing creativity and driving the innovation process.
As well as this, organisations must be open to change. Our ways of living, working, and those we work alongside are constantly changing. To keep up with the change occurring around us, we ourselves must be prepared to transform the way we think, act, and work. With the speed at which business is currently developing, inclusivity for innovation is the core of survival.
Like-minded people create like-minded results – inclusivity is combatting this by fostering our workforce’s differences to prepare for greatness. Therefore, business leaders of today need to be flexible and open-minded to pioneer innovation for the future. Organisations that foster differences are set to excel; what better time to do so than now!