Inclusion—done right–inspires innovation and increases productivity.
Inclusion involves a sense of belonging and community. It means that employees feel connected to their workplace and the people around them; and they feel comfortable expressing diverse viewpoints and celebrating differences as well as commonalities. It not only results in happier, more engaged employees, but research suggests it can increase productivity by as much as 35%.
There are a few keys to creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that attracts and keeps the best employees:
Access to resources. Make sure employees have access to the resources they need, from technology and equipment to mentors and training. Keep them up-to-date about changes to benefits, staffing, policies and procedures, and other issues that affect their work life. Prior to meetings, provide information and background materials so that everyone feels prepared and engaged. Give different team members a chance to lead meetings and make presentations.
Give everyone a voice. Employees want a say in decisions that affect their work. Managers and leaders should be encouraged to get to know workers and seek their input on efforts that impact them—features that a new electronic health record or computer system should have to what snacks to offer in the breakroom.
Accept and value people for who they are. Don’t just recognize employers for their “good work.” Let them know what specific skills and abilities they bring to the table that are so important. Talk about situations where they’ve made a difference—such as recognizing a condition change in a resident or identifying a suspect email carrying a virus or malware. Learn about workers’ interests, dreams, and hobbies and support them in their pursuits.
Promote a collaborative environment. The post-acute and long-term care sector has long been a model of teamwork, but remember to promote this in every corner of the organization. Encourage people to work together on projects, such as updating an employee handbook or reaching out to local schools for recruiting purposes.
Create a sense of belonging. Make your efforts to promote inclusion fun and inspiring. Consider a campaign, such as “Our Colorful Company Quilt,” featuring monthly programs with guest speakers, team building activities such as softball games or fundraising for a local charity, and social events such as happy hours and potluck meals. Reach out to unengaged workers and determine what will get them onboard.
What do employees want? According to one survey, employees cited robust, well-crafted antidiscrimination policies; training to mitigate biases and increase cultural competency; and removing bias from evaluation and promotion decisions.