Many reasons exist for employers to embrace diversity and inclusion in the workplace: it fosters a more productive environment, promotes creativity, and ultimately leads to better customer satisfaction.
While these reasons alone are enough to consider making the changes necessary to promote inclusivity, employers need to consider the effect diversity has on their employees as well. Below, we discuss several ways inclusion and diversity impact employee health and wellbeing.
1. Workplace Inclusion Reduces Stress Levels
Nearly half of all workers experience work-related stress of some kind, which costs employers billions each year. High levels of stress in the workplace lead to increased absenteeism, high job turnover, lower employee satisfaction, and decreased productivity.
Environments where workplace inclusion is practiced, however, allow workers to be themselves without the worry of criticism or rejection. They don’t need to pretend to be someone or something they aren’t because they know their colleagues accept them and their opinions. As a result, work-related stress isn’t as prevalent in diverse workplace settings.
2. Diversity Leads to a Stronger, Happier Workforce
When employers embrace and accept the differences in their employees and deliver on promises, they gain employee trust and loyalty. Promoting diverse and inclusive values leads to greater employee satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity and profitability overall.
When employees feel empowered at work, they are more confident and creative and are more likely to remain loyal to their employer. Ultimately, the company benefits from improved efficiency and quality of service.
3. Workplace Inclusion Promotes a Safer Work Environment
When employers embrace inclusion in the workplace culture, they create a safer environment where everyone feels free to share their opinions and ideas without fear of ridicule or rejection. Embracing diversity and inclusion means having zero tolerance for unacceptable or damaging behaviors, making everyone feel safer and freer to be themselves.
4. Workplace Diversity Promotes Work/Life Balance
Many people feel guilty about not having enough time in the day to handle all their personal and work duties effectively. If they work overtime, they feel guilty about neglecting their duties at home. If they take a day off to handle things at home, they worry about dropping the ball at work.
In a workplace that embraces diversity and inclusion, however, these feelings of inadequacy are less common as there is a better work/life balance for employees. These workplaces are more flexible in terms of hours clocked and when and where employees work their shifts. This flexibility leads to greater job satisfaction and increases productivity as workers feel less stressed and more capable of handling all their work and non-work duties alike.
5. Workplace Inclusion Fosters Interpersonal Connections
An inclusive workplace promotes a sense of belonging for its employees. They are encouraged to interact with each other on a more personal level to understand each other and work well together. This type of social interaction is a hard-wired need almost as important to human wellbeing as food and water. Employees that are encouraged to connect and interact with each other are less likely to be affected by stress and are healthier and happier overall.
The biggest takeaway from this article is that workplace inclusion and diversity are positive things that businesses and employees in all industries can benefit from. From greater productivity and profitability for the businesses themselves to increased satisfaction and better overall mental and physical health for employees, embracing diverse and inclusive workplace values is a win-win for everyone.