For the past two weeks, I’ve been researching and exploring the concept of inclusive organizations (What Does Inclusive Organization Mean? and 8 Traits of Inclusive Organizations). I was doing it because I was asked to help lead a training on the topic, but why should you care about creating an inclusive organization?
As it turns out, there are a number of benefits to doing so. And these are benefits beyond the “nice feeling” you have from being inclusive. These are benefits that ultimately affect the bottom-line, improve work results, and make executives happy.
8 Benefits of an Inclusive Organization
1. Higher Job Satisfaction
When you feel valued for your work and contributions, you’re going to be more satisfied with your job. Appreciation is an incredible motivator and doesn’t always mean giving away more money–it can be as simple as recognizing the individual for their hard work and dedication. Many companies do this well for their star executives, but what about for their star administrative assistants or technical gurus?
2. Lower Turnover
If you are recognized and appreciated, and you can see that the work you do is valuable, why would you want to leave? People leave organizations that they feel are taking advantage of them (or other people), but inclusive organizations don’t do that. Inclusive organizations find ways to visibly show how much they value all contributors, and that’s what will keep people there.
3. Higher Productivity
Inclusive organizations help increase productivity in individuals because they are motivated and know their work is appreciated. In an environment where they feel their work will be ignored, there’s no motivation for an employee to find ways to work smarter. But when the work is visible and valued, people are motivated to do even better, not just for themselves, but for the company.
4. Higher Employee Morale
As we learned recently, happiness is somewhat contagious. By being inclusive and valuing everyone, employees are more likely to be happy with their work. And if the people around you are happy and satisfied, any given individual is more likely to be happy as well.
5. Improved Creativity and Innovation
Diversity of people brings diversity of thought which brings diversity in ideas. And when you combine these various ideas together, you may find the creative solution or next break-through innovation that would never have been discovered without different minds working together.
6. Improved Problem-Solving
There are two common ways a problem is solved: 1) Having seen a similar problem before and reapplying a modified solution, or 2) understanding the challenges of the problems and then coming up with a creative solution to fix it. Having diverse backgrounds improves the likelihood of both–more diverse experiences means improved chance of someone having resolved a similar problem before (#1), and we know from Benefit #5 that inclusivity helps foster creative ideas that could solve the problem (#2).
7. Increased Organizational Flexibility
The world can change rather quickly, and the best organizations are those that can adapt to that change. An inclusive organization is flexible and can adjust to the world’s changes because it is diverse, collaborative and the constant communication allows people to move from one role to another with greater speed and skill. As conditions change, the inclusive organization can change along with them.
8. Better Employees
The long-term benefit to inclusive organizations is that they create, attract and retain the best employees. They create them through improving problem-solving skills and encouraging constant growth and improvement. They attract them because people want to work for a company that is high performing, values diversity, and has high employee morale. They retain them because the company grows, people feel valued, and their happy with what they do. All of that means better employees, which means better results for the company.
There are some other benefits to being an inclusive organization (e.g. complying with the law), but the ones above are the ones that will truly lead to results. Creating an inclusive organization isn’t just the right thing to do, it makes business sense. And cents is what business is all about.
Got another benefit of inclusive organizations? Share it in the comments!