The pandemic has been isolating, challenging and divisive, so inclusion has never needed to be more prioritised. Whether it’s addressing hybrid working from home, or the need to actively and systemically address a lack of inclusion to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability or social differences, Thom Dennis, CEO of Serenity In Leadership, explains why inclusion will help us bounce back in 2022.
- INCLUSION PREVENTS BULLYING. Active, genuine inclusion is the single most effective way of eliminating dysfunctional behaviour. Power differences are a breeding ground for othering and bullying, the opposite of which is belonging and forming healthy, safe connections.
- INCLUSION DIMINISHES GROUP THINK. Going with the consensus can be damaging for business. Inclusion promotes innovation, creativity and a fresh perspective which is good for business. Without inclusion and diversity, a group may develop the same mindset and goals, and simply agree with each other, rather than stretching the possibilities in thinking and creativity.
- INCLUSION PROVIDES EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES. Giving equal opportunities to all individuals will help mend societal issues which inherently disadvantage some groups, opening more doors for these equally talented individuals.
- INCLUSION MAKES US LISTEN & GIVES US A VOICE. Inclusion is about listening and valuing everyone’s voice. Inclusion recognises that anyone has the potential to be a premium candidate and gives us an opportunity and time to find our voice which may be sometimes harder for those of us who are naturally introverted or are in a minority.
- INCLUSION BUILDS PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY. Learning about people who are possibly different to you engenders empathy and understanding. These conversations may not always be comfortable but building psychological safety is incredibly powerful and helps good business.
- INCLUSION IS GOOD FOR COLLABORATION. An inclusive environment encourages us to be open to other’s ideas and for us to share our own, and enables interesting, productive and creative group collaboration. Inclusivity means better responsibility and accountability as action is more likely to be taken as a team.
- INCLUSION IS GOOD FOR MENTAL HEALTH. A workplace lacking ininclusioncan affect employee well-being, triggering isolation and feelingsof anxiety, anger, and injustice. Whereas inclusive cultures reduce the human costs of isolation and loneliness and have happier and healthier workers who are comfortable sharing, and feel listened to, cared for and valued.
- INCLUSION FOSTERS RESPECT. The more time spent interacting with people different to us, the stronger our understanding, acceptance and relationships and mutual respect for one another. Since feeling respected is the number one reason given for enhancing retention, this is important.
- INCLUSION LESSENS ATTITUDINAL BIASES. We all have biases, but we need to recognise and accept they exist. Working in an inclusive team allows you to take a step back to see what your actions say. If you are unsure, practise scenarios with a coach. Recognising your biases is the first step to changing your behaviour and breaking down the barriers.
- INCLUSION UNITES US. Inclusion creates space for us to gain awareness, educate, integrate and evolve. It brings society together and unites a range of perspectives, encourages diversity and equality, and promotes harmony and unity. This creates culturally rich environments which celebrate differences in race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, religion, socio-economic status as well as life experiences and personalities. Using the time during a crisis like the pandemic to make a visible commitment to inclusion is a powerful way to harness change for the better.