A recent call to arms about the importance of inclusivity in the creative industries has got us reflecting on the power of inclusivity in the workplace. It highlights the fact that we all play a role in making our organisations more inclusive. In the article, NABs quite rightly assert that inclusivity is the key to attracting and retaining the talent of the future:
“The price of not being inclusive is an exclusive workplace, and exclusive cultures are shunned by the next generation of talent coming through as well as those working within it. It’s not hard to understand why. In exclusive cultures, people can’t speak up or be themselves. Those who work hard to fit in to some old-fashioned ideal may experience major mental health challenges as a result.”
The impact of inclusivity on talent acquisition and retention
Inclusivity can have a positive impact on more than just talent acquisition and retention. A recent McKinsey study found strong links between diversity and financial performance and concluded that:
“gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity, particularly within executive teams, continue to be correlated to financial performance across multiple countries worldwide. In our 2015 report, our hypotheses about what drives this correlation were that more diverse companies are better able to attract top talent; to improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making.”
The impact of inclusivity on driving innovation and creativity
We’d also add to this list the power of inclusion in driving innovation and creativity within organisations. The book Rebel Ideas is packed full of examples of ways in which projects which involved a wider range of perspectives, backgrounds and viewpoints had more innovative, effective or high performing outcomes.
Inclusivity drives performance and effectiveness
So inclusivity isn’t just about creating an environment people feel more comfortable working in. It’s a driver of performance and effectiveness. It should be a core element in shaping the strategy and culture of the business.
But sometimes when things are so important that the whole business should be changing around them there is also a risk that we wait for the big changes and ignore the fact that we can be making lots of small changes all the time.
5 easy steps to increase inclusivity
We can all increase inclusivity all the time. By being inclusive in the way we think, act and behave. Not at the expense of the ‘big changes’ like changes in recruitment, culture and organisational strategy. But as well. So how can we be more inclusive in our everyday practices at work?
1. See the value in inclusivity
The first step in being more inclusive is seeing it as a benefit rather than a requirement. Understanding the value that can come from involving more diverse viewpoints, experience and ideas in planning and decision making helps frame inclusivity as something that helps the entire organisation. We often find that the space created by transformational coaching can lead to valuable reflection on projects and on understanding where ideas come from, the value of wider involvement and the benefits of diverse viewpoints for organisational change. And we certainly find that immersing ourselves in ideas and insights about inclusivity helps inspire us. Check out our inclusivity book list here.
2. Empower people around us to be themselves
Inclusivity can be as much about creating a culture where people feel like they can be their real, authentic selves whose experience is recognised and respected. Modelling that authenticity and openness requires vulnerability and empathy as the foundations for a conscious effort to model that in the organisational culture.
3. Involve different people
There are lots of ways to be more inclusive individually, that in turn can lead to making our organisations more inclusive. If we ask ourselves how we can bring different viewpoints into the mix the answer to that could be involving different age groups, job roles, genders, ethnic backgrounds or even people with different points of view, personal backgrounds or experience to our own. It’s about seeking out differing viewpoints to see what they can bring.
4. Involve a wide range of people in projects and decision making
And it’s about finding opportunities to create that involvement. Are you kicking off a new work stream? Could a current project do with some fresh thinking? Has a regular meeting or workshop become stale? We’re surrounded by opportunities to involve and include a wider range of people and viewpoints all the time. And even more importantly surrounded by opportunities to actively involve more people in decision making and demonstrate that their points of view are recognised and respected.
5. Become a leadership organisation
One highly impactful way to open up the power of inclusivity is to begin to change the culture of leadership within the organisation. We think the future of leadership lies in moving from a model that sees leadership as the job of a small number of people at the top of the pyramid to seeing it as a vital responsibility of everyone in the organisation.
Seeing everyone as a potential leader, and supporting them equally with coaching to all them to develop these capabilities, is inclusive both in terms of involving individuals and developing a mutually respectful environment for ideas and capabilities.
Want to take this further?
Do you want to gain insight into personal transformation? Do you want to learn how your own Mental Fitness can be the framework for understanding how you can develop greater self-awareness and grow in your own capability and resilience?
Or, if you play a role in your organisation’s development and that of those who work with you and their Mental Fitness, we’d love to talk.