ENEI (Employers’ Network for Equality and Inclusion) say inclusive leaders are: “leaders who are aware of their own biases and preferences, actively seek out and consider different views and perspectives to inform better decision-making. They see diverse talent as a source of competitive advantage and inspire diverse people to drive organisational and individual performance towards a shared vision.”
If you work in recruitment, you’ll have spent a lot of time talking about DE&I (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).
It’s dominated headlines, it’s been the topic of many meetings, and there have been millions of words written on it. Everyone is aware DE&I is beneficial but not everyone knows how to achieve it.
Benefits of inclusivity include:
- Companies with good gender diversity are more likely to have above-average profits than companies in the bottom quartile.
- Companies with more women are more likely to introduce radical new innovations to the market.
- 39% of job seekers will turn down an opportunity due to a perceived lack of inclusion.
While there are programs and KPIs that support diversity and equity, inclusion is a bit harder to quantify. After all, a big part of it is how your employees feel. And feelings are hard to measure. So more companies struggle with inclusion:
- How do I promote inclusion?
- How does everyone feel included?
- How can I measure inclusion?
What’s In Inclusion For Your Business?
The plusses of diversity are well documented: better performance, higher profits, more innovation.
But when the workplace isn’t inclusive, they’re diluted. By giving your diverse people a place to be open and comfortable sharing ideas, you’ll gain even more benefits:
A Culture of Innovation: Inclusive workplaces encourage innovative teamwork. People can seek out experienced colleagues to collaborate with, rather than everyone working independently.
Higher Productivity: When people feel included, they’re more engaged with the business and work harder. Feeling able to join discussions and work as part of a team also promotes this.
Higher Revenue: More innovation and higher productivity = more revenue. Companies with high diversity levels and inclusion perform much better than non-diverse and non-inclusive counterparts.
Company Reputation: 69% of 18-34 year olds and 67% of 34-54 year olds want brands to take a stand when it comes to DE&I. With most people telling friends and acquaintances about their workplaces, it helps your company reputation to be inclusive, diverse, and equitable.
How Do You Become More Inclusive?
Research says it’s down to your leaders. Harvard Business Review found that what leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference in whether an individuals feel included. The ways inclusive leaders do that include:
- Making a visible commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Showing humility about themselves, being aware of their own flaws, and acting on them.
- Being curious about their team.
- Working with people across the company.
- Adapting their behaviours according to, and being aware of, other people’s cultures.
- Focusing on the group doing well, not just their own success.
Inclusive Leaders Take the Lead
From there, inclusive leaders show the way for the rest. When senior leadership and management encourage inclusive behaviours, it encourages the team to do the same.
Encouraging employees to start their own inclusive practises, talk to people they normally wouldn’t, and to get to know new employees or those outside their usual circle, inclusivity spreads throughout the business.
But it doesn’t just happen overnight. And it’s not as easy as everyone following suit. Inclusivity begins at the top and works its way down.