Inclusive workplaces contribute to positive mental health and job satisfaction
In the 21st century, respect for diverse identities should be a given, but this is not necessarily true in all settings, particularly in the workplace. In their latest statistics, the Diversity Council Australia reported many minority groups still record significant discrimination and feelings of exclusion at work. Fortunately, support for inclusive workplaces has increased over the last couple of years, with 3 out of every 4 Australians supporting the need for further action . So what does inclusion look like within a work environment and what can your company do to accommodate individuals from diverse backgrounds?
Inclusion incorporates both the action of embracing, and the outcome of feeling valued.
Whilst creating a diverse work environment is a tangible and clearly defined outcome, such as using targeted recruitment of minority groups, inclusivity is a little more complex. Inclusion refers to both the active process of including and an emotional outcome of feeling included, specifically feelings driven by fairness and belonging. In other words, it’s one thing to employ a diverse group of workers, it’s another for those workers to feel respected and valued within the workplace.
Studies show inclusive workplaces lead to better mental health, job satisfaction and innovation.
When workplaces are truly inclusive, and all employees feel valued, you achieve an inclusive workplace culture that positively impacts overall wellbeing and productivity. According to the Inclusion@Work Index, employees in inclusive teams are 7 times more likely to report that their work has had a positive impact on their wellbeing, and 10 times more likely to be satisfied with their job . From a business perspective, reports by both Deloitte and McKinsey have found innovation, customer service and work output increases with inclusivity, with inclusive teams outperforming their peers by 80% in team-based assessments .
Inclusivity is the responsibility of all members of an organisation.
Creating inclusive workplaces requires a commitment from all levels of a company, but a company’s values and culture is where it begins. Practical actions can include:
- Creating inclusive policies and procedures
- Providing training and education for all employees
- Promoting diversity and inclusivity events, such as an International Women’s Day or a function celebrating World Pride
- Incorporating inclusive language
- Adopting flexible working schedules
- Encouraging your staff to take an Implicit Association Test to help them recognise their own inherent biases. An example of this type of test is readily available on Harvard University’s website.
- Monitoring pay equity and addressing any pay disparity.
- Inclusivity doesn’t happen overnight, but steps can be taken to embrace diversity and create a respectful workplace all can feel proud of.
For more information on how to foster inclusivity, check out our Diversity & Inclusion workshop for managers and staff.
 Diversity Council Australia. (2021). DCA Inclusion at Work Index.
 Deloitte. (2013). Waiter, is that inclusion in my soup? A new recipe to improve business performance.
 Diversity Council Australia. (2021). Mapping the State of Inclusion and Mental Health in the Australian Workforce.