Inclusion Reaps Benefits, Exclusion Costs Companies

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For great leaders, employee satisfaction is of major importance. But it’s not always clear how to ensure that. The not-for-profit group Catalyst has released a report on strategies and methods that could make the work culture more inclusive.

“Leaders must understand that diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. It is about making small shifts every day in our behaviours to help employees feel more included at work – amplifying their experiences of inclusion,” said Deborah Gillis, President and CEO, Catalyst.

Taking the grassroots approach, Catalyst spoke to the employees and noted their experiences rather than looking at the scenario from the top of the pyramid. They focused on understanding scenarios in 42 organisations in countries like India, China, Canada, United States and Mexico, in terms of inclusion and exclusion practices in the work culture.

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Shachi Irde, Executive Director, Catalyst India WRC tells Shethepeople.TV,

“Employees are faced with repeated exclusionary experiences such as tokenism, bias, stereotyping, cultural norms, mixed messages related to flexible work arrangements (FWAs) and work-life effectiveness. Experiences of workplace exclusion are powerful and are keenly visible. Our analysis showed that it is the accumulation of these experiences that can be most painful, difficult to overcome, and overshadow feelings of workplace inclusion.”

The report also found that inclusion and exclusion can happen at the same time for employees. No prizes for guessing which one is harder to grasp, and which one leaves a powerful imprint.

Workplace inclusion is built on employees’ senses of both uniqueness and belonging. Inclusion is also related to a person’s ability to contribute to and fully participate in the workplace.The recommendations to make every employee feel included suggest that companies should make desired behaviours, policies and programmes more visible. They should engage employees in the change process. Businesses can create an inclusive culture by holding senior leaders, teams and employees accountable for creating and broadcasting a shared vision of inclusion. Developing a visible reward system for demonstrating inclusive behaviours will help in reinforcing that inclusion is a day-to-day practice and not limited to certain activities.

A conclusive list was made that would increase inclusivity in the work place, and lead to better results:

  • Paying attention to not just the programs and policies but also address people’s values, mindsets and behaviours and including those values into the work environment  
  • Engaging in a two way conversation with employees should be a regular procedure 
  • Make and share plans that will give the team an idea of their progress and where they can improve upon in terms of inclusion
  • Listen to stories of exclusion and accept responsibility; work towards knocking down barriers that limit employee contribution

In order to close the gap between employees and leaders, the two main factors of inclusivity and exclusivity must be taken into account.

Feature Image Courtesy: Inside HR