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Boosting productivity through inclusive workplace policy

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President of CIPM, Olawale Adediran


While there has been recognisable progress in diversity at workplace in the last decades, a focus on increasing diversity alone has fallen short of tackling the systemic challenges around equality, personal bias or exclusionary culture.

Indeed, hiring a diverse workforce does not guarantee that every employee has the same experience or opportunities.Experts have submitted that inclusion is needed to give diversity real impact and the drive towards a world of work where all employees are empowered to thrive and deliver optimally on tasks given.

In work context, inclusion is the sense of feeling valued, accepted and supported to succeed, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or disability.So, how can professionals instill an inclusive workplace culture that ensures all individuals have the opportunity to thrive?

The President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Wale Adediran, told The Guardian that as HR professionals, building an inclusive workforce is a challenge and also an opportunity, as inclusive building has to be deliberate.He said HR leaders have to get their executive teams and their board to see and understand the opportunity that lies in having inclusive culture at workplace, as it is the only way to get started.

He explained: “First is the realisation that it is an opportunity. Once they have the buy-in of the executive team and the board, they need deliverable line of action to see where they can spot places to bring people of diverse background into the organisation.

“It has to be pursued and pushed until the agenda is realised. There is need for persistence, resilience and accommodation, as you have to navigate as they go, because the original intent has to be kept in focus and the team must buy it.”

A research titled: “Building Inclusive Workplaces”, by Mel Green, Research Adviser and Jake Young, Research Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), a professional body for HR and people development, based in the United Kingdom, said that if organisations are to achieve fair and sustainable forms of work that benefit all stakeholders (workers included), there is the need to locate inclusion at the centre of strategy and practice.

The report explained that it is crucial that people and professionals help leaders in their organisations to move beyond bottom-line thinking and instead, consider a very real and achievable alternative that works for all stakeholders.Bottom-line in this context is where workplaces are fair, transparent and inclusive.

In addressing barriers to inclusion, the report opines that it requires businesses to reflect on their culture and practices, and employee experience more broadly.

According to the report, an inclusive workplace culture allows people to thrive at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, stating clearly that more needs to be done to make workplaces inclusive as well as diverse.

The economic case for more diverse workplaces is clear. For instance, research from the U.S. shows that participation of women in state-level labour market is linked to wage increases for all.

In the UK as well, research identifies that full representation of BAME individuals in the labour market would reap benefits to the tune of £24 billion.Specifically, for organisations to effectively build more inclusive workplaces, they need to understand the current state of play and take targeted action.

This, according to the report, includes assessing whether the employees feel the workplace is inclusive and whether people management and HR practices are inclusive.It specified five actions organisations can key in to foster inclusion, that all employee employees should be involved in inclusion, develop line manager capability, evaluate policies and practices, build senior commitment to inclusion and examine organisational culture, climate and values.

The need to place importance on inclusion by stating a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the company mission statement, core values, and goals was also emphasised.Not only does this attract a more diverse array of employees, but it also makes an organisation accountable for its actions.

“Follow through on these commitments by creating a work environment reflecting these values, and demonstrate that your organisation values diversity by hiring a staff representing different races, genders, political affiliations, nationalities, and abilities.

“In addition to offering resources and support so all employees can actively practice inclusivity, take action to address specific needs and support working parents by offering maternal and paternal leave.

“Instate employee matching programs that allow employees to financially support causes of individual importance, and offer volunteer time off so people can invest time to physically support causes that matter,” the report explained.


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