5 Ways Diversity and Inclusion Drives Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a perennial subject for most large companies, and its priority is only moving up the agenda for most HR and talent development teams.
Reducing the significant costs associated with employee turnover is a well-known financial spur. But effective engagement techniques have also been shown to increase staff morale, improve work output quality and general performance. Happy, engaged employees then go on driving higher levels of customer service, which directly affects the bottom line. But how does diversity & inclusion (D&I) fit into the puzzle, and how can it help drive higher personnel engagement?
Recent research has shown a diverse workforce has a direct link to better levels of engagement. As many job seekers now look for more than just financial benefits from their roles, the need to know that their job is important and that their employer is committed to building a long-lasting and fair culture is even more critical. Here are five crucial ways D&I drives workforce engagement.
Affinity - A truly inclusive culture can play an enormous part in how much affinity an individual experiences towards the people they work with and for. An inclusive and diverse workforce fosters a sense of belonging, allowing individuals to thrive and feel secure and understood. A keen sense of affinity at work empowers staff to be their authentic selves, feel a part of a business that listens to all voices and allows them to succeed without having to conform or leave their real personalities at home.
Direction - Understanding why the work you do matters and is important needs to be disseminated throughout the organisation, and your D&I statement is a pivotal place to establish that direction. By setting out what the business aims to achieve, every person appreciates the why and can then be trained on the how. Maintaining a distinct purpose gives the workforce that previously mentioned sense of belonging and rapport too.
Recognition - The more regularly and genuinely an employee is recognised for an achievement, the more valuable and secure they feel in their job, and the more likely they are to be positively engaged. Highlighting desirable behaviours via employee recognition is an excellent way to generate a sense of appreciation and understanding throughout the company. To avoid these being given too often to particular groups, seniorities or job functions, diversify who is responsible for providing recognition and widen the areas of recognised work.
Energy - Enthusiasm for both the company and the work being done is another reason that a well thought out D&I strategy will drive engagement. Highly engaged staff don't merely carry out their job; they put in maximum effort and invest this energy to make a decent business great. They feel an affinity to the organisation that goes beyond salaries and benefits. An energised diverse workforce that is engaged and enthused by their work is then filtered through to customers establishing and enhancing its reputation.
Contentment - The final, often most elusive and desirable part of the puzzle is a happy and contented workforce. Happiness at work wasn't historically a key focus for most employers. Still, research has shown that workplace well-being directly links to increased job satisfaction and employee commitment, higher interest in work tasks and, most importantly, reduced staff turnover. So, if diversity and inclusion aim to improve how the workforce interacts and relates to each other, then getting it right means that your staff enjoy productive and fulfilling relationships with their co-workers.
At some point in our working lives, many of us have likely declared we spend more time with colleagues than we do with our family. So, it makes sense that the relationships we have with colleagues play a significant part in feeling content & therefore driving engagement and productivity.
Diversity and inclusion represent a vital part of a company's culture. A sound framework will create a sense of belonging, give direction and generate an energy that ultimately drives employee engagement. As more and more currently consider it a business imperative, it's important to remember that D&I is not a one size fits all concept, and it's essential the walk is the same as the talk for everyone in the business.
Written by Tom Stroud
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