What Does an Inclusive Workplace Look Like in 2023 and Why Does it Matter?

National inclusion week. The benefits of an inclusive workplace.

Business leaders are becoming increasingly more aware of the necessity of an inclusive workplace. Studies reveal that over half of UK businesses regard inclusion as a strategic priority. There is a greater understanding that inclusion not only benefits employees but also greatly improves the success and longevity of a business. The benefits of being inclusive are truly bountiful, when approached correctly.

Empathy, Understanding, and Open Communication

When considering inclusivity, it is important to understand that being inclusive means to fully understand the needs of your employees. This involves taking the time to understand who they are as a person; this involves having empathy and actively listening. It also involves creating a safe environment that allows for the open and honest conversations needed to achieve this level of understanding.

Flexible Policies

One of the most popular aspects of an inclusive workplace is having inclusive policies. These policies should accommodate the diverse needs of employees. For example, many employers now offer flexible working hours, remote work options, or accommodations for individuals with disabilities to do with both mental and physical health conditions. The latter could look like physical accessibility accommodations, offering counselling services, or allowing mental health recovery days.

Equal Opportunities

Inclusivity ensures that all employees have equal access to opportunities for career growth, development, and advancement. Compensation and benefits are fair and transparent, ensuring that all employees receive equitable pay for their work, regardless of gender, race, or disabilities, or any other characteristic. Decisions regarding promotions or recognition are guided by meritocracy, not influenced by favouritism or biases.

Why is it Important to be an Inclusive Employer?

Typically, inclusive employers have a higher level of employee loyalty and retention. Inclusivity fosters an environment where employees feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and have better communication, leading to fresh ideas and improved problem-solving.

 Employees also have higher levels of job satisfaction, productivity, and workplace happiness. In a CIPD report, it was concluded that absenteeism caused by stress, anxiety, burnout, or low morale is dramatically reduced in situations where there is a high level of support and enthusiasm (inclusion) for diversity within teams.

Being inclusive has a positive impact on brand association. A positive reputation for diversity and inclusion can attract customers, clients, and investors who value socially responsible businesses. It can make your business appear more organised and professional. Creating an inclusive workplace is integral to the longevity and success of a business.

Discover our Ten Steps Diversity and Inclusion Framework to assess your business and make healthy steps to improve your work environment.