Going from rhetoric to action is a flow and this gets interrupted by external or internal stimuli and the reaction is either to retract or to pause or to cogitate; in a nutshell inaction.
Research and data have proved again and again that diversity enhances business performance and the quest for more women in the boardroom has yielded dividend. Talking to Inclusion and Well Being leads in organisations, it is becoming apparent that Well Being is the very core of Inclusive cultures.
An organisation’s approach to scrap employee networks so that the wider community of employees ‘feel’ they too matter; has raised the question, ‘does the quest for inclusion perpetuate bias’! OR is it time to drop off the labels and create a more humane approach to accepting difference and having regard and respect for the diversity that is enjoyed by most people.
The emotional impact of bias is feeling excluded and this impacts the Well Being of the employee. Looking at data from focus groups and workshops I have conducted over a ten year period, it is apparent that the feelings and experience of exclusion are similar across the different diverse groups of employees.
- Being a ‘token person’; the novelty factor adds pressure and creates dilemmas that have the potential for being stressful and thereby impacting performance.
- Different styles of ‘socialisation habits’; having lunch with people who look like me and are from similar cultures; can create assumptions and yet this is similar for preferences to play golf.
- Isolation is very common when difference is perpetuated. This can impact contribution and engagement and thereby performance.
Is Well Being the driver for Inclusion or Is it the outcome of Inclusion interventions? The latter has been the focus for many organisations. Inclusion can open mindsets for acceptance of diversity and thereby creating ‘healthy cultures’. The two are mutually connected.
The Well Being focus has to shift from responding to symptoms to one of creating and nurturing; and this can influence Inclusion in action. Neuroscience research is consistently confirming how diverse experiences improve the functioning of the brain and its agility and thereby performance.
Senior leaders often proclaim that initiatives relating to corporate social responsibility do influence their thinking and approach to taking diversity forward in their organisations. Very often these projects are related to Well Being and improving life styles of communities.
Can the focus on Well Being be more catalytic in enhancing Inclusion? The optimists will concur, many will sit on the fence and some will see them as separate!
Imagine how our culture, how our lives, will change when we begin valuing go-givers as much as value go-getters!
Joining the dots can create momentum and also highlight priorities that will create change.