Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

The Seven Business Arguments for Inclusion

April 19, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 167

Today's human resource leaders work in complex and challenging workplaces, striving to deliver workforce solutions that are real-time, transparent and inclusive.

Amongst an organisation's stakeholders, the executive team have the greatest influence over inclusion. They set the culture, shape the values and provide vision. When influencing this group, it is important though to refrain from being an activist. Beating a rainbow path to the CEO's door won't cut it if what you're trying to achieve is a sustainable culture of inclusion for staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

The secret is incrementally adjusting perceptions: it's about building trust and respect rather than lobbying.

You have to think strategically, tactfully, tactically and sometimes surgically. You must raise awareness of the value-add of inclusion and how it can be consciously directed toward achieving business outcomes.

How do you do this? Take a moment to consider your executive team. Each one of them has a different bottom-line. In order to win over the group, you have to target the individuals: their motivators, their emotional connection. In many ways, you need to think "diversity".

As you start to engage these stakeholders, it's likely that you'll be faced with rejection and denial: we've tried this before... but we have a "gay" in accounts and he doesn't complain... we have already met our quota...

There are seven persuasive business arguments for inclusion that aim to influence executive stakeholders so that they see the importance of a diverse and inclusive culture. The trick is to engage them to ensure that they don't see diversity as a distraction - but rather as an opportunity for competitive advantage.

1. What customers will think Consumers are now attentive to the track record of businesses - not the financial record. They are focused on the environmental impact, the diversity record, the level of social responsibility: the organisation's integrity and values. Research by Harris Interactive found that three quarters of gay and close to a half (42%) of straight consumers in the US are less likely to buy products from companies perceived to hold negative views of lesbians and gay men (Stonewall, 2008).

2. What others are doing Australian companies and public sector agencies are now developing robust diversity policies; policies that are inclusive of LGBT staff. These organisations recognise the economic benefits not only in attracting customers but also in enhancing productivity and retaining staff.

Pride In Diversity's Australian Workplace Equality Index ranks Australian businesses and government agencies against a rigorous criteria. In 2011 IBM and the Australian Federal Police were ranked top Australian employers for inclusion.

3. The risk Some will see inclusion as a compromise of beliefs that will affront staff and customers alike, yet this is not what inclusion is about. Inclusion is not about changing people's values, nor confronting religious beliefs. Fundamentally inclusion is about valuing and celebrating difference.

At its heart, inclusion aims to create a safe workplace that is built on trust and is free from discrimination. The Pink Ceiling is Too Low report (Irwin, 2002) showed that 59% of LGTB employees feel discriminated in the workplace: the major form of discrimination being harassment, including homophobic jokes, aggressive questions and even physical violence. Some 19% reported a restrictive career as a result of their sexuality.

4. The opportunities Some executives are motivated by opportunities like being the biggest, the best, the first. They are motivated by opportunities that make the organisation look good; of course they are motivated by opportunities that make them look and feel good as individuals too.

Strong leaders can see the value of diversity. They are able to leverage diversity to tap into innovation and deliver results. IBM argues: "brilliance isn't born of conformity".

Inclusive policies build an environment of trust. When people are trusted, they are more likely to create and innovate. A workforce is more likely to challenge itself if there is an absence of fear such as the fear of making mistakes.

5. The impact on staff Inclusion provides a litmus test for engagement. Inclusive cultures implicitly engage staff. In a culture where there are secrets and a lack of trust, there is lower productivity. Too much energy is wasted on protecting one's identity. It is estimated that between 6-10% of people identify with being LGTB: that's a lot of energy potentially wasted.

Inclusive strategies have a positive ripple affect across the entire workforce and impact on all workers whether they identify with a specific diversity group or not. The annual global Gallup engagement survey shows that around 80% of Australian employees are not fully engaged in the workplace, costing business around $42B per year in lost productivity. Engaged employees deliver 27% higher profits; 50% higher sales; and generate 50% higher customer loyalty.

6. The cost Every HR practitioner knows that disengaged employees are more likely to change organisations. It is estimated that 21% staff are actively looking for work at any one time. With social media's success in facilitating recruitment, staff no longer need to search for work - it comes to them.

We know the dire state of the Australian employment market. We're at the cross-over where the numbers exiting the workforce are beginning to exceed new entrants. The costs of replacing a productive staff member can sit as high as 150% of an annual salary.

Inclusion programs not only engage a workforce, but they appeal to a new generation of workers. They underscore an employment value proposition and can contribute to becoming an employer of choice.

7. The right thing to do Most executive teams have at least one member who is motivated by the impact that inclusion can have on the lives of individuals. For people like this, inclusion policies can represent an endorsement of personal values, respect and a belief in equality.

In summary, tackle your stakeholders from a range of angles: customers, competition, opportunity, innovation, staff, productivity and the fact that it's the right thing to do.

The next article in the series will look at setting up workplace networks.

Stephen Walker is an executive coach, HR consultant and is the former head of human resources in three Australian Government Departments.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Staff Inclusion


Workplace Diversity


Seven Arguments For Inclusion






Staff Engagement

In India, employment opportunities are set to grow by a good margin in the coming year, a phase which was started in the turn of the second decade of the 21st century. organisation, candidates with

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l April 01, 2013 lViews: 11717

Sometimes it is amazing to see that certain jobs can precipitate huge turnouts in the recruitment drives. It is as if thousands of people were waiting for the vacancy advertisements and the moment

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l December 30, 2012 lViews: 692

In recent times, jobs in healthcare segments have grown tremendously. It is anticipated that this growth curve will continue for the times to come. Various factors are responsible for this

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Career Advice l December 27, 2012 lViews: 449

Are you in a dilemma whether to choose web based CRM or not? If yes, don’t worry. You aren’t the sole person having this doubt.There are numerous firms trying to make out whether investing in a

By: Reneta Vasileva l Business > Customer Service l December 23, 2012 lViews: 410

If you think about it you will realize the fact that each business has its own set of risks that are involved in it.The trade secrets that you have and the information related to the business is what

By: brumbrum1 l Business > Risk Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 264

As the time is changing, concierge management services are now growing despite the slowing economies of the world. The main reason of it is the need that is highly specific to the people who like to

By: willsmith10 l Business > Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 334

Web survey software programs are among the most popular business tools on the Internet today. And it's not only in the sales and marketing arena that these items are in demand, but even for human

By: Amber Nicholsl Business > Human Resourcesl April 24, 2012 lViews: 254

Workforce optimization is a crucial ingredient towards the achievement of organizational goals. Hiring a competent labor force can go a long way in enhancing functionality and performance of the

By: Lee Schranerl Business > Human Resourcesl April 24, 2012 lViews: 201

Employee retention is critical for any organization. This is a way to keep your productive workers within your workplace. In today's competitive business world, employee retention has become a

By: Michel Disusal Business > Human Resourcesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 252

Not all recruitment tracking systems were created equal. In fact, if you haven't updated your recruiting tracking software in a while, you may be missing out on some real time-saving features. A

By: Darwin Redshieldl Business > Human Resourcesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 189

Today we'll unlock the secrets to the top applicant tracking systems that are currently available on the market. As a business owner, you most likely don't have a lot of time on your hand to sort

By: Darwin Redshieldl Business > Human Resourcesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 205

Many employers go through great pains when hiring new employees. Sifting through applications, performing background checks, interviews, following-up on interviews and on and on. Keeping everything

By: Darwin Redshieldl Business > Human Resourcesl April 23, 2012 lViews: 190

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus