Inclusivity: Starting at the Top

Photo Credits - Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Organisations are becoming more reliant on diverse teams that combine the capabilities of individuals from various backgrounds. Being inclusive is a significant aspect that all workplaces should have, with organisations seeing increased employee satisfaction and fulfilment – many have attributed inclusivity as the reason why.

Discrimination based on the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 is unlawful. This regulation has further advanced inclusivity in UK workplaces, protecting more individuals in the workplace – regardless of their background.

However, being inclusive is not just about not having discrimination in the workplace. In a report by CIPD, inclusion is described as the individual experience and the ability of everyone at work to contribute and the sense of belonging with the organisation. Diversity should then be ensured by inclusivity – which will foster a healthy workplace.

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Although it is great to hire employees from varying backgrounds, inclusive leadership is key for a successful and sustainable inclusive workplace. Organisations should prioritise leaders and higher management to become advocates of inclusivity to prevent discrimination and maintain inclusivity in the long run.

Research by Harvard Business Review shows that teams with inclusive leaders are 17% more likely to be high performing, 20% more likely to make high-quality decisions and 29% more likely to be collaborative. They also found a 10% improvement in work attendance due to feelings of inclusion – effectively reducing absenteeism.

Knowing these effects, higher management should put inclusivity in their agenda. In order to create an inclusive workplace, it must start at the top.

How Can Higher Management Drive Inclusivity?

  • Start at the Hiring Process

As inclusive leaders, higher management should conduct the hiring process by revolutionising the traditional way. This can be done by really assessing the candidates underlying qualities, instead of focusing solely on their CVs and credentials. Taking the time and effort to really understand candidates can help discover their true talents, intelligence and creativity. Doing so may lead to the discovery of truly exceptional talent.

  • Encourage Creativity

It is important for leaders to create a safe space for employees to explore their creativity. Leaders who are more traditional tend to stick to existing systems, leaving little room for innovation and exploration. As an inclusive leader, it is imperative to be open to a wide range of ideas that may lead to original and ground-breaking results.

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  • Embrace and Provide Opportunities

Workplaces that champion inclusivity should embrace opportunities as a means of development. Leaders should always allow their employees to seize opportunities, and not limit them to a role due to their background – such as age, gender or tenure. If the employee can take on the opportunity, the leader should encourage it as it would be an excellent learning experience to have.

  • Creating a Collaborative Environment with Healthy Competition

By having a collaborative environment, friendships are more likely to form – increasing synergy in the workplace. Incorporating a healthy amount of competition on top of that can boost morale and development. Employees will strive to become better, together – creating great results for everyone.


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