We're talking Inclusivity

Inclusivity has become the buzzword that every employer wants after their name.

Inclusivity has become the buzzword that every employer wants after their name. However this buzzword is no fleeting fashion – it is, quite rightly, here to stay.

Inclusivity training is a way of teaching employees from different backgrounds how to work more effectively with each other. The Oxford English Dictionary defines inclusivity as:

The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.

The practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.

Inclusivity should never have been a ‘new’ thing or a buzzword. It is an essential practice for any business.

To make sure that inclusivity becomes ingrained within your organisational culture, inclusivity training plays a vital role. Targeted training will give you with the tools needed to become an inclusive leader and set an example to encourage cultural and behavioural change. Leaders who undertake inclusivity training will be able to open their eyes to wider perspectives and this will help them to perform better. Diversity and inclusion programmes should be a mandatory part of modern training.

Why is inclusivity training so important?  

Looking at our diversity and inclusivity in the workplace survey, both ‘zero tolerance of discriminatory behaviour’ and ‘equal pay for equal jobs’ came out as the most important issues for those questioned.

Just over a third of men and women surveyed felt that inclusive leadership was a top priority and just over half (55%) felt that their company needed to be more inclusive of disability.

Clearly, these are topics which employees feel strongly about, which may personally affect them, and that the general consensus is that companies can do better.

What are the benefits of inclusion training?

Inclusivity training should make you feel good, but it isn’t just there to add moral value − the business case for developing these new skills is compelling too, making it a no-brainer.

The benefits for your business include:

Better decision-making

Inclusivity training can capitalise on the diversity that you already have within your company. Research has found that inclusive teams make better business decisions, bring about faster change and contribute directly to the bottom line.

This is because a non-inclusive environment can be a contributing factor to groupthink. Groupthink is a fundamental part of human nature and it can sound good on paper, resulting in a unified decision-making process, but it creates a persistent bias. Encouraging disagreement within the process will actually result in a better decision overall.

It is important to become critical of any unconscious bias we have, and use team diversity as a powerful tool to ensure that a team with different perspectives work together to make a strong decision.

In fact, if you don’t have a team that includes a diverse group of people in the decision-making process at all levels, you are putting your business in a vulnerable position.

Financial returns

There is also a correlation between an inclusive decision-making process and improved financial performance. Organisations which have employees from diverse backgrounds are strong, resilient, effective and therefore more productive and profitable – the dream team!

In being inclusive for those with disabilities, working parents and others with commitments outside work, diversifying has also lead to flexible and versatile working. This is reflective of a modern workplace that can support and mirror the workforce, and at the same time, saves on the financial costs of set desk space.

Inclusivity isn’t just a metric to aim for, it’s a crucial part of a successful business.

Creativity, idea sharing and innovative problem solving

Numerous studies have found that inclusivity and diversity is linked to an increase in innovation and divergent thinking, bringing new ideas into the boardroom. When leaders are trained to be inclusive, they can redistribute budgets and allocate resources to support those new ideas.

One Deloitte study of Australian employees found that there was an increase in the employees’ ability to innovate when: ‘they think their organisation is committed to and supportive of diversity and they feel included.’

Some of the most prosperous cities in the world such as London, New York or Singapore are known to be cultural and global melting pots and are rich, innovative and successful because of this.

New markets

Non-diverse companies are not prepared for the global marketplace. If you create an inclusive working environment where every voice is heard, the business will become more competitive and more creative and those different voices can lead to different business opportunities.

Happier staff, customers and clients

Diversity and inclusion will improve customer service as those providing the service will be more able to understand their wide variety of needs. Corporate clients are also now demanding diversity from the companies they hire as they know this will provide them with a stronger team.

Attracting and retaining the best talent

The ability to attract top talent is another benefit of a diverse workplace. Jobseekers often evaluate a company’s diversity practices before accepting a job offer.

Retaining talent is also key as high employee turnovers cost organisations money they often can’t afford. A diverse workforce is said to be key in retaining millennial talent when many younger employees look to job hop to climb the career ladder.

A survey by Deloitte discovered that 72% of employees would leave their current company for a more diverse employer and 53% had already done so. An inclusivity programme can help you to retain the best talent.

Business has the responsibility and power to contribute and change society so that being diverse and inclusive is the norm. By completing inclusivity training you will be able to utilise the unique qualities of individual employees to create a more collaborative working culture while also gaining new skills and observations to inspire change.

Every company needs to put inclusivity and diversity at the heart of their business and every individual within that company needs to understand their responsibility to create and sustain an inclusive workplace. The result will be a more powerful and dynamic workforce, with numerous benefits to enjoy.