Effective, transformational leaders must understand the implications that diversity and inclusion have on the success of their organization. Global studies have also shown that organizations with diverse and inclusive cultures are 45 percent more likely to have improved their market share in the last 12 months and have employees who not only give greater discretionary effort, but also are also less likely to leave (Johnson). Diversity and inclusion are not the same. Diversity provides an organization with employees from many different socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, education levels, abilities, etcetera whereas inclusion is the sincere acceptance of these difference among employees. Diversity alone is damaging for individuals and organizations: research links differences to lower revenue, performance, employee attachment and well-being, and increased conflict, absenteeism, missed opportunities and more discrimination cases (Johnson).
People intrinsically notice differences and stand on alert for danger when people, things or situations are unlike themselves or their norm. In a psychologically safe workplace, different individuals can all say, “I belong,” “I fit in without having to change who I am,” and “It’s safe to say what I think.” (Johnson). Therefore, leaders need to go beyond simply having a diverse workforce and empower employees to brace inclusion by raising awareness, empowering employees to overcome self-centric behavior and genuinely connect diverse groups and assist them in bridging the gap in their difference.
Understanding personal differences and becoming aware of how those differences are responded to is the core of interpersonal inclusion (Johnson). With improved market share and greater employee participation, understanding and fostering inclusion is an imperative for continuing success in the ever-changing global economy.
Johnson, C. 2014, August 7. Where Do You Belong? http://talentmgt.com/articles/6682-where-do-you-belong