Inclusion makes cents.

Inclusion makes cents.

An inclusive and diverse culture is the right thing to build and maintain, but it can also be quite lucrative. 

How often does doing the RIGHT THING benefit your bottom line? It doesn’t feel like it happens all that often, but it happens any time you focus on positively shaping your culture. Supporting a healthy organizational culture by focusing on inclusion and diversity is an all-around awesome investment. Let’s dive deeper into the why.

I quote Brene Brown often. She’s an author and researcher who specializes in vulnerability, which is, by the way, a beautifully strong characteristic of the most exemplary leaders. 

In her book, “Braving the Wilderness,” Brown studied people who seemed to have found a sense of belonging to see what set them apart. Here’s how she defines belonging based on her research.

“Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

I love that. “Belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”

Given that definition and how it washes over you like sunshine on a warm spring day, it’s obvious to most that supporting diversity and inclusion in your organization is simply the right thing to do. But if you’d also like to hear the business case, there is overwhelming evidence that an inclusive culture leads to more success. 

A 2016 book titled “Which Two Heads are Better Than One?” by Juliet Burke reports that organizations with inclusive cultures are:

  • 2X as likely to exceed financial goals,
  • 3X more likely to be high performing,
  • 6X more likely to be innovative, and
  • 8X more likely to achieve better outcomes.

The impacts on business are tremendous, but they are just side effects of the real benefits of inclusion—the benefits of a healthy culture. And it may come as no surprise that leaders who believe in inclusion make ALL the difference. 

According to the management consulting firm, Deloitte, the actions of leaders can swing an employee’s perception of inclusion by 70%

But if it’s left up to individual leaders to interpret what an inclusive culture actually looks like, well, you might get a ton of different answers. And as we learned in previous months of Fully Staffed content, in order to create accountability, you have to be clear on the expectation! So you must be clear on what an inclusive culture is so that you can hold yourself and other leaders accountable to it.

Deloitte proposed a 4-point inclusion model that provides that necessary clarity. 

First, people must feel a sense of fairness and respect in the workplace. Basic consideration for others must be evident; and favoritism spells disaster. If you are a member of Fully Staffed, I encourage you to go back and take a look at the content for both fairness and respect in the Fully Staffed archive for a wealth of information on how to bring those two values to life in your team. 

Next, commitment to valuing people and fostering a sense of belonging are key. In order to attain that sense of belonging, we, as human beings, need to feel safe. It has to be okay for us to be our authentic selves and to speak up without fear of embarrassment or retaliation.

The final element is ensuring staff feel “empowered” to grow and contribute, even to be involved in decision-making when it serves the team or the organization.

Here’s a great place to start with all of this: Simply discuss what inclusion means with your team. Ask them, If one year from now you did a survey and people said your organization or team was inclusive, what would be different then compared to now?

This blog is straight from February’s Fully Staffed content on inclusion, our value of the month for February. We don’t typically share our current month’s content so readily but since it is Black History Month we were eager to get this inclusive message out. You can join Fully Staffed now! If you are unsure of what Fully Staffed is, it is a subscription program that helps you strengthen your culture in simple ways so you can positively impact your recruitment and retention, and so much more. Click here to check it out today!


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