Leaders: Inclusivity Matters
Do you have an inclusive workplace?
Do your employees feel welcome each day?
Do they have a sense of belonging in the community?
Inclusivity matters. When people don’t feel a sense of belonging, they feel excluded, their performance goes down, and it impacts their health and well-being. According to Professor Binna Kandola in his book, Free To Soar, Race and Well Being in Organisations, “A sense of belonging and inclusion in the workplace is vital for all employees’ well-being, yet the default state that minorities find themselves in is exclusion.”
The leader is the catalyst. They play a key role in creating an inclusive workplace. This intentional work can create more positive work environments for all employees and help typically marginalized employees feel included which can lead to better performance and increased health and well being. Think of your workplace as a classroom with you as the teacher. The teacher sets the tone for how students interact with each other from small gestures to the attitudes and tenor of the classroom. We are not automatically inclusive. It has to be intentional work. Leaders have to actively think about typically marginalized employees, carefully observe, and actively empathize with their experience.
As leaders, we need to practice compassion, seek feedback, give feedback, and pay attention to everyday commonplace routines that could be impacting our employees. The simple acts of greeting colleagues, learning and pronouncing names, and making eye contact can be a few ways to set a tone of belonging. The social environment of the workplace matters. We all want signs that we belong. We want to feel connected. What will you do to set an inclusive tone?