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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

Building Inclusion

Over the past decade, in business circles there has been a marked shift in focus from discussing diversity to diversity and inclusion.

Many company's are increasingly recognising that if they wish to experience the benefits of diversity, they need to cultivate not just a diverse workplace but importantly also an inclusive one.

There is also growing recognition that leaders have a critical role to play in achieving this – creating workplaces where a diversity of people feel valued and respected, have access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve the working culture and company.

While the language of inclusion and inclusive leadership is increasingly being used in business, there is a lack of readily available practical guidance which is:

  • Evidence-based drawing on the latest international and national research

  • Business-Focused demonstrating the connection between inclusive leadership and both business outcomes (e.g. innovation, performance) and individual outcomes (e.g. feelings of belonging and uniqueness)

  • Comprehensive clearly describing and connecting the three inter-related concepts of diversity, inclusion and inclusive leadership, and describing not just the characteristics of an inclusive leader but importantly also the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to build inclusion

  • Integrative explaining how inclusive leadership capabilities can be integrated into existing organisational leadership frameworks.

A core value at Quality Health Care is that ‘together we are stronger’, and it is the differences that exist amongst us that make us stronger as one.

As a people business, fostering an inclusive recruitment process that leads to a diverse working environment has always been key to our success. Diversity and inclusion are two different things that go hand in hand – and companies that manage to achieve both will reap the benefits. Here are three reasons why QHC believes that businesses should work towards achieving an inclusive workforce that values diversity.

Diversity yields a wider range of skills and better decision-making

Providing unconscious bias training to employees is one effective way to make sure your team hires the best person for a job. Even unintentionally, it’s common to gravitate towards hiring someone with experiences similar to your own. In addition to unconscious bias training, use strength-based interview questions in your assessment days to ensure that candidates are not assessed on previous opportunities, but rather their overall aptitude – instincts, problem-solving skills and situational decision making.

Employees will naturally have different sets of skills and talents. Bringing a wider range of perspectives to the table for brainstorming, problem solving and strategic development will result in innovative ways to tackle business challenges. Exposure to different thinking and talents also helps all of your people grow and learn how to help the business perform more effectively.

Diversity fosters empowerment

While gender and ethnicity are crucial facets of diversity, it’s important to remember that diversity encompasses a much wider breadth of characteristics and experiences – age, education, socio-economic background, sexual orientation and visible and non-visible disabilities. All of these contribute unique perspectives that tie in to making better informed decisions for the business.

Socio-economic divides continue to prove a barrier, so it’s important for organisations to look at how they can support the development of skills and education for communities at an early age.

Diversity will boost your reputation, your brand and your productivity

Research shows that diverse companies are more profitable and more appealing to work for than companies lacking diversity. This reinforces best practice to potential employees and clients, which will impact the success of your business.

A multi-cultural organisation will be better placed to service and satisfy clients. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit today’s world; being able to relate to a global market is important.

An Australian Deloitte study found that employees are more likely to have higher rates of engagement, attendance and performance in diverse organisations. Employees that feel comfortable, valued and respected in their place of work are motivated to continue contributing to the ongoing success of the business. Diversity and inclusion are, quite simply, good for our society, economy and good for business.

A diverse and inclusive culture is imperative for a business to continue to thrive because it puts its people at the heart of its operation. Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice.

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