As National Inclusion Week kicks off, our Eximia team share some thoughts on what inclusion means to them.
Diversity and inclusion are interconnected concepts – diversity focuses on representation, and inclusion focuses on removing barriers. A diverse and inclusive workplace welcomes people from all backgrounds, promoting an environment that celebrates and accepts people’s differences. It encourages diversity of thought and equal opportunity, giving people the freedom to be themselves, contribute ideas and be fairly supported in their career development.
Employees who feel included and valued for who they are will show higher levels of engagement. When they trust that they will be treated fairly regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or age, they’re more likely to remain loyal. In fact, organisations with more diverse teams have 36% better financial returns. But not all workplaces are inclusive or diverse, and that’s been impacted by several things.
Racial and gender inequalities
Reports like the gender pay gap and ethnicity pay gap consistently highlight disparities between men and women, and white and ethnic minority groups. While ethnicity pay gap reports aren’t mandatory, it’s encouraging to see employers voluntarily report these statistics as a tool to help them measure and understand what disparities exist within their workforce. Some employers are committing to improve their recruitment and promotion processes, but there’s still a long way to go.
According to a 2021 CIPD research report, LGBT+ employees face a higher risk of harassment and conflict at work. Over 20% of LGBT+ employees experience discrimination during recruitment and promotion, and over a third worry about possible bias.
It’s crucial for employers to offer inclusive benefits that cater to diverse needs, such as flexible work arrangements and family support programs. In the wake of the pandemic, employees are demanding more from their employers to achieve work-life balance. Flexible and remote working have become a core requirement for many, with 40% of employers seeing an increase in requests.
Lack of awareness
If there’s a lack of awareness and understanding around what inclusivity means, this can cause employees to feel overlooked. Regular training and education programmes can raise awareness, reduce biases, and promote inclusive behaviours among employees. Cultural competence training can also help employees understand and appreciate different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives.
Holding ourselves accountable
While the responsibility lies with leadership teams to improve the experiences of their employees, we can all take action to keep the inclusion conversation going. Whether that’s raising concerns to management, pushing for more inclusive policies and practices, or being an ally for our colleagues, these small acts can effect change.
Here’s what our Eximians had to say:
Martha Parkhurst, Strategic Communications Manager
“For me, inclusion is about more than just being present. It’s about having a voice. It’s why I’m so passionate about exceptional communications. When everyone has access to the information they need, they’re empowered to join the conversation. To create inclusive workplaces – and communities – our communication needs to be clear enough for everyone to understand. It’s important to create a culture where people feel seen and heard.”
Sandor Paku, Reward Consultant & Account Manager
“Knowing that I can be myself every day around my colleagues gives me a sense of comfort. When people can be themselves at work, they get more enjoyment out of their job. And when employers hire inclusively it results in a more diverse team, each person bringing their own exceptional qualities and skills. That’s exactly what we have at Eximia – exceptional people.”
Lauren, Reward Consultant & Account Manager
“Inclusivity means being given the flexibility and trust to balance my role at work with motherhood. Eximia has made me feel valued because they recognise I can do my job well, regardless of where I am. I’m able to flex my hours around family life and still feel like a valued team member. Often working parents (especially mums!) are seen as unreliable, but we’re not. Companies should be investing into a more diverse talent pool.”
Andrew Kennedy, Motion Graphic Designer
“We’re encouraged to work remotely and trusted to deliver our work. I like the freedom and flexibility I have during my day – sometimes I’ll get my exercise in during a longer lunch knowing that I’m most productive later in the afternoon. Everyone has their own rhythm and it’s about being respectful and supportive of that. As a creative, I value different points of view as it helps with the quality of my work. I see inclusivity as making sure everyone feels valid to have their say and share feedback in a safe space.”
Inclusion at work is an ongoing effort that requires dedication and continuous improvement. Organisations that prioritise these factors can create a more inclusive environment where all employees can thrive and contribute their best.
Learn more about the power of inclusive communications with our content and copywriting service.