Did you know that inclusion can impact your team’s productivity and creativity?
Let’s go over some data-driven facts about inclusion in the workplace. Discover how it can positively impact your business!
Generating an inclusive work environment can allow everyone to thrive. The secret is that our differences actually make us stronger.
If employees feel seen, heard, and authentic, that’ll impact their work commitment. And this isn’t only about being better humans for this planet. There’s a personal and collective benefit to actively practicing inclusivity.
Research demonstrates notable benefits of inclusion in productivity and creativity.
In this article, we’ll cover some of these benefits. We’ll also share examples and actionable tips for you to use the right way!
Let’s start with a definition of an inclusive work environment.
What Does an ‘Inclusive Work Environment’ Mean?
Today, the most diverse companies have a higher chance of outperforming non-diverse companies. That’s shown in terms of profitability, according to a study by McKinsey.
Still unsure what an inclusive work environment means? There’s a difference between ‘diversity‘ and ‘inclusion‘. Let’s start by differentiating them.
Diversity focuses on representation. Inclusion is about the presence and incorporation of different individuals and groups.
You can start by yourself: What does inclusion in the workplace look like for me?
An inclusive workplace is collaborative, fair, accountable, and open.
Having a diverse team that includes women, people of color, and LGBT individuals is one thing. It’s a great place to start. But inclusion requires active efforts and communication to take place.
For example, here at Envato, we’ve got a diverse range of talented individuals. We come from different backgrounds, ages, and sexual orientations.
That itself doesn’t make an inclusive work environment. But no need to panic. Awareness is the first step towards an inclusive work environment.
Are you ready to learn how to create an inclusive work environment? Let’s go over seven actionable examples of inclusivity in the workplace.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to foster an inclusive work environment.
7 Ways Inclusion Can Impact Productivity and Creativity
Still wondering how to create an inclusive work environment? Let’s go over some data-driven facts that can positively impact your business:
1. Unlock Innovative Potential
Organizations with successful diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging initiatives were more innovative. That was indicated by a World Economic Forum‘s research.
Another study revealed that employees with inclusive managers are 1.3 times more likely to feel their innovative potential unlocked. Additional research also shows that teams with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative.
Why not make talent, diversity, and inclusion one of your main differentiators? Companies like Accenture make inclusion a big part of their hiring strategy. They create an inclusive environment at work by including people with different backgrounds and different life experiences.
“We believe in the power of diverse perspectives and experiences—they are the heartbeat of innovation and change.”
That’s how Beck Bailey, Accenture’s Global Chief Diversity Officer, describes this inclusive effort.
For example, in their corporate communication they emphasize the use of gender-neutral language. They are proud to share that 48% of their global workforce are women. Plus, they’ve implemented software to make sure job descriptions are free from biased language.
Fostering inclusive leadership roles is key for teams to thrive and expand. Wondering how can this be achieved? There are a few things leaders should integrate:
- Encourage team members to voice their opinions.
- Create a safe space for new ideas.
- Empower employees to make decisions.
- Take and implement advice and feedback.
- Give constructive and actionable feedback.
- Acknowledge and share credit for team achievements.
For example, you could have focus groups or surveys to measure inclusion. Make sure employees feel safe to share their thoughts.
2. Increased Employee Engagement
Data shows that employees who feel comfortable at work are 46% less likely to leave.
According to research, companies focused on making people better get high engagement scores. Plus, inclusive companies are four times more efficient in identifying and building leaders.
For example, let’s look at how this principle can also be applied to sports. The importance of inclusion has even reached the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Under the slogan “Games wide open“, this celebration will highlight the importance of inclusion and visibility. The goal is to open a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also a great platform to educate on inclusion in and through sports.
It shows when employees are confident that they and their peers will get equitable treatment. They’ll be 9.8 times more excited to go to work. Plus, they’re 6.3 times more likely to be proud of what they do. That’s according to research on organizational culture by Great Place to Work.
Promoting inclusive sports participation can boost athletes’ confidence and sense of belonging. There’s research that proves it.
3. Less Employee Turnover
It’s remarkable the impact of being able to be our true selves in the world. That includes the openness and acceptance we find in the workplace.
Some studies show the effects of diversity and inclusion drive higher rates of retention. In other words, inclusion is rewarded by loyalty.
When employees feel their ideas and contributions matter, they are less likely to leave. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace may lead to as much as 5.4 times higher employee retention.
If you’re still not sure how to foster an inclusive work environment, here’s a tip.
You can think of having guest speakers or hosting a happy hour to talk about inclusion. Promote employee-driven initiatives and keep the door open for new ideas.
4. Better Decision-Making
While non-inclusive decision-making is way too common, facts tell a different story.
A wide range of voices enhances the quality of business decisions made. That’s right. Inclusive teams collect diverse perspectives. This leads to a broader analysis and resolution.
Inclusive and diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time. That includes gender, geographical, and age-diverse teams. Plus, decisions executed by diverse working teams deliver 60% better results.
People from diverse backgrounds are more likely to challenge assumptions. Together, diverse teams can bring more creative solutions.
Want to practice this with your team? Ask yourself these questions:
- How are job descriptions written?
- What does your hiring process look like?
- Are you promoting a feedback culture in your team and business?
Inclusive efforts go far beyond a nice monthly memo. Actively foster positive and supportive work environments. Here are some examples, just to name a few:
- Plan a diversity and inclusion training with your team.
- Mark in your calendar key dates like Spirit Day or International Day of Persons With Disabilities.
- Make sure you use inclusive language in your company’s communication.
- Regularly ask for feedback from your employees to ensure they feel seen and heard.
Learn how to start an effective employee resource group in this article:
5. Increase Problem-Solving Skills
What happens when people feel they can share their unique points of view? Chances are, they feel equipped to solve problems creatively.
Studies from the University of Michigan suggest that diverse teams are better at problem-solving. This can keep the team motivated to continue learning and improving. Both individually and as a collective.
Want to increase problem-solving skills within your team? Apply some initiative from successful inclusivity programs.
We can learn from initiatives such as the NSF’s safe and inclusive working environments. That’s the National Science Foundation. Their program aims to create and maintain inclusive work environments. It’s focused on the fields of science and technology.
This initiative promotes commitment to inclusion, mainly in educational communities. Here are some key aspects this initiative considers:
- Address and prevent all forms of harassment.
- Promote practices that respect diversity.
- Support policy development to foster safe and inclusive working spaces.
- Raise awareness through training and educational resources.
- Implement reporting mechanisms to support people.
6. Upgrades Brand Image and Reputation
A study by Deloitte shows that inclusive companies are three times more likely to be high-performing. They’re also six times more likely to be innovative and agile.
Great Place to Work is a great source of information to improve work environments. It’s a certification that recognizes employers who create an outstanding employee experience. They even developed an approach titled For All.
The goal is to create “a consistently high-trust workplace experience for everyone“. This isn’t a once-a-year event. It’s an initiative that promotes day-to-day action. It’s as simple as acknowledging inclusion, dignity, and compassion in the companies’ daily operations.
How managers recognize employees’ unique talents matters. How companies are structured to allow the potential of each person to shine matters. How many people of color and women are included in each project matters.
It’s the daily actions that count to celebrate inclusive cultures in the workplace.
For example, Airbnb has a clear vision for its inclusion goals. It’s expected that by the end of 2025, 20% of their US employees will be underrepresented minorities.
A strong reputation for diversity and inclusion will enhance your brand’s reputation. Active inclusion will make your brand look innovative and up-to-date.
7. More Engagement = Productivity
Engaged employees are more likely to be motivated, committed, and, therefore, more productive. Higher job satisfaction and improved profitability can go hand in hand.
A simple way to integrate this into your workplace is to prioritize collaboration. Think of ways diverse individuals can come together in one project. Also, promote respectful and open communication company-wide.
Inclusivity happens when all of us, diverse individuals, feel seen and valued. Everyone on your team should feel integrated into the company’s day-to-day activities. Diverse companies are now more likely to outperform non-diverse companies on profitability.
These are just a few ways you can create a positive work environment.
More Diversity Resources for Your Business
Now you’ve got some ideas on how to foster an inclusive work environment.
Keep inspiring yourself and others. Promote an inclusive environment at work by learning more about diversity.
Still wondering how to foster an inclusive work environment? Here’s a selection of articles for you to dive in:
Celebrate Inclusion in the Workplace!
In this article, we showed that it isn’t difficult to promote inclusion at work. It could even be fun. It mainly consists of constant and active work.
Still wondering how to foster an inclusive work environment? Learn from organizations with successful diversity and inclusion initiatives. Think of the magic that takes place when individuals feel acknowledged, seen, and heard.
It may look a bit overwhelming at first. But remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Creating NSF-safe and inclusive working environments takes consistent action.
Break things into daily efforts that can foster an inclusive environment at work.