Cultivating a culture of inclusion makes good business sense and can impact multiple areas of the business in positive ways. When organizations put a concerted effort on ensuring the work environment is inclusive, every individual in the organization feels that their input is welcome and valued. This results in a competitive advantage because employees are more likely to contribute their ideas, champion new projects, and be more engaged with growing the organization overall. An inclusive culture also helps increase employee retention rates and thus decreases recruitment costs, because people will be more likely to stay in a role where they feel their contributions are welcomed and valued.
There are a multitude of benefits that have a bottom-line impact when organizations ensure their culture is inclusive. One key way to get there is through a training where employees learn their role in creating an inclusive culture. Aside from creating a welcoming professional environment, making the investment in training that focuses on inclusion in the workplace offers many benefits, including the following:
Inclusive teams are more creative. When multiple perspectives are considered, teams are often able to come up with a wider range of creative solutions to a problem and challenge each idea until the best solution is determined. This type of productive conflict leads to deeper collaboration and more innovation than could be achieved by a group that is unable to see the same problem through a variety of lenses.
However, productive conflict doesn’t always come naturally. It requires an environment of trust, respect, and developing the skills to reach a solution through collaboration and communication. These skills can be developed through training that focuses on inclusion.
The more inclusive the team environment, the more engaged each employee will be. Because of this, incorporating training that focuses on inclusion can have a significant positive impact on employee engagement, the organization, and the bottom line.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), inclusion plays an important role in increasing employee performance and satisfaction. Shirley Davis Sheppard, Ph.D., vice president of diversity and inclusion and workplace flexibility at SHRM, noted, “You can build a strong business case for employee engagement and inclusion initiatives that help to drive engagement.” Building an inclusive workplace allows people to work to their strengths and focus on what they do best. When you add in training that allows them to develop their talents, the effects are amplified. As employee engagement increases, productivity follows.
Improved Customer Experience
Intentionally building an organization that embraces diversity and fosters inclusion drives a positive customer experience and makes your organization more attractive to customers and prospects. By demonstrating to your customers that your organization values multiple perspectives and actively practices inclusion, your customers will feel more connected to and included in your company’s ethos.
What’s more, a company that values inclusion in the workplace can naturally extend those values to customer interactions. The employees that interact with customers are more likely to take an inclusive approach to their work, both with their peers and with current and potential customers, creating a positive customer experience.
Better Recruitment and Lower Turnover
Creating an inclusive environment will help drive recruitment efforts, as more individuals will be interested in working for you. High-potential recruits consider much more than just benefits and pay when considering a new position. They also take a close look at the work environment, company values, and the overall culture. According to Glassdoor, 67 percent of active and passive job seekers say that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers—and a company won’t remain diverse if it does not create an inclusive work environment.
With that in mind, it’s obvious how creating an inclusive workplace culture is beneficial for employee retention. All the free coffee in the world won’t create a positive culture if people don’t feel comfortable at work. When employees feel the need to actively hide who they are—or “identity cover”—they don’t have the energy or ability to do their best work, and it won’t be long before they’re looking for an environment where they can excel. But if they feel that their perspectives and experiences are valued and that they are accepted for who they are, they will be more engaged and able to direct that energy into being innovative and productive.
Implementing Inclusion Training at Your Organization
To ensure your organization is inclusive, training should focus on appreciating individual differences, being self-aware of biases, and taking personal steps that contribute to building an environment where everyone feels included. It’s important to recognize that this type of training is not about calling out individual differences or identifying distinct groups; it’s about recognizing that everybody on the team has something to offer and that there is value in sharing multiple perspectives. By implementing inclusion training, you can achieve one of the most important steps in creating an inclusive organization.