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Is Inclusion the secret elixir driving Engagement?

Wendy Lundgaard
Monday, October 19, 2015
Diversity Tree

Having a diverse workforce is readily acknowledged as pivotal to ensuring  an enterprise remains relevant and here for the long term. Further, complex problems are best solved with talent drawn from a wide ranging cross section of employees who reflect our customer base, spanning different backgrounds and experiences. The evidence is hard to ignore. In more recent times we have seen an important shift in the dialogue to now focus on the role of 'inclusion' and employee wellbeing. The working environment is powerful in creating  organisational cultures of trust and what is more compelling, the influence the trust climate has on employee engagement. Employee engagement is a current pre-occupation for organisations today as they seek to ensure the trend line heads in the right direction given the established link to productivity and performance.

Have we ever stoped to consider the extent our diversity practices influence the ultimate elixir of people practices: employee engagement? Like most people, and I speak for those of us in HR particularly, we view the influence of diversity possibly only indirectly.  Recent research has shone a spotlight on the link between diversity and engagement. The research takes this notion further giving strong evidence that diverse work practices can absolutely and positively influence engagement. What is even more exciting is that 'inclusion' (or the extent to which employees feel they 'belong', feel respected for who they are and 'feel safe to speak up') significantly enhances the trust climate which is positively correlated with engagement. This is where our focus should now be. It is one thing to create a diverse talent pool but quite another to ensure there is inclusive leadership and an inclusive workplace culture to ensure diversity practices work and deliver outcomes for employees and the enterprise.  Here is a copy of the recently published journal article conducted within the health sector. It makes a very strong case to continue the journey.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jasp.12273/full. What do you think?

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