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Decoding Employee Engagement with Inclusion and Diversity

Employee engagement, inclusion, and diversity are buzzwords for organizations all across the globe. While organizations look at these two ideas exclusively, the focus on creating a link between the two and boosting the latter as a means to promote the former seems to be on a low priority. However, if you look closely, a focus on inclusion and diversity is bound to open ways to augment employee engagement and experience. Research by CEB, now a part of Gartner, found that workers in highly diverse and inclusive organizations result in a 26% increase in team collaboration and an 18% increase in team commitment. Another study shows that in diverse organizations, individuals work 12% harder, are 19% more likely to stay longer with the organization This clearly illustrates that inclusion and diversity promotes engagement resulting in commitment and collaboration. 

Promoting Inclusion and Diversity to Drive Engagement

It is important to understand that inclusion and diversity is not only about onboarding diverse groups of people. Rather, it goes a step further to ensure that these diverse groups have an equal say in every organizational decision like others at their level. To boost engagement with inclusion and diversity, organizations need to expand their understanding of the term. Diversity in race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity is not enough. Focus on including diverse experiences, perspectives, thoughts, etc. need to be included to breed real engagement. At the same time, an engaging culture does not come to life simply by diversity hiring. There needs to be a push from senior leadership to ensure bias-free operations, appraisals, work allocation, among others. 

Gauging Inclusion and Diversity Effectiveness

Undoubtedly, inclusion and diversity has a direct impact on employee engagement and experience, resulting in organizational success. At the same time, gauging employee engagement from an inclusion and diversity lens is very important. The idea is for organizations to check the engagement pulse across the organization and not just for the majority group. Here are a few quick ways for organizations to understand the effectiveness of inclusion and diversity while measuring employee engagement.

  • What does the minority say: Most organizations look at figures of employee engagement to judge how many employees are engaged and satisfied. However, it is equally important to qualitatively evaluate the engagement surveys of those who add diversity to the team. Their engagement quotient is what plays an important role. Try to understand the concerns of the minority groups in terms of engagement and experience to create a truly inclusive and engaging culture.
  • Encourage 1-o-1 conversations: It is very important for empathetic managers to indulge in candid personal conversations with all employees. Instead of asking direct questions on whether the diverse groups feel engaged or not, there need to be conversations around how they feel at work. Managers must create confidence in their team members to share concerns or worries. Additionally, these personal conversations must be for all. This reflects to the point that neither should diverse groups be ignored nor should they be the only focus of attention.

Employee Engagement: The Right Way

If you look closely, your organization will give you small yet clear indicators on how strengthening inclusion and diversity has a positive impact on employee engagement and experience. For instance, greater inclusivity promotes a sense of belongingness which leads to greater engagement. At the same time, a greater focus on diversity and inclusion can help organizations capture better applications during recruitment, which is essentially the starting part of employee experience. 86% of individuals claim that workplace diversity is an important attribute to consider when they are looking for a job. 

It is important to collaborate with external facilitators and platforms to point out and combat the unconscious biases that might exist in organizations, delaying the realization of these indicators. Additionally, creative behavioral nudges can be highly effective to facilitate subtle changes to promote a more inclusive workplace. The bottom line is that inclusion and diversity is the first step towards employee engagement, unless an employee feels included in the culture of the organization, engagement will be far-fetched.

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