How Inclusion at Work Promotes Staff Wellbeing

Written by Luke Kitchen
Last updated September 13, 2022

Inclusion, and lack of it, have a big effect on staff in any workplace. Work is somewhere most of us spend 40 hours a week for decades of our lives. If we don’t feel safe, respected and included in this environment, it is no surprise that a host of negative effects await us.

As we learn more about inclusion and diversity as the years pass, we are seeing a very tangible link between these two topics. Inclusion at work and staff wellbeing. There is a direct correlation in that when inclusion goes up, so do the levels of well-being. When levels of inclusion go down, no shock here, well-being goes down too. 

Therefore, it is more important than ever that we know about inclusion and how to adopt it. In this blog, we are going to talk about this and how it might be best managed. 

Whose Wellbeing is Impacted by Exclusion?

When we think of inclusion in a workplace and issues surrounding it, we might still not be thinking about everyone that we should be. Some people still get left out of the conversation of inclusion, somehow. 

People at work can be excluded due to their:

  • Race
  • Religion or beliefs
  • Ability or disability 
  • Sex
  • Gender reassignment
  • Socioeconomic background
  • Immigrant status
  • Age
  • Pregnancy/maternity 
  • Health, including mental health 

And more. 

It isn’t always just about race or religion, even though these are phenomenally important issues within inclusion. People can be excluded and discriminated against for a wide variety of issues and this can easily fly under the radar. If we don’t know what is going on, we can’t even begin to fix it.

Inclusion is a complex and multi-faceted issue and it is critical to remember how many people can suffer if it isn’t actively supported.

The Pillars of Workplace Inclusion and Wellbeing

When it comes to supporting inclusion and getting it right, we know now that this has a significant effect on staff and their well-being. With that in mind, we know we want to do it right. So the next thing for us to figure out is how to do this. 

These are our proposed pillars of workplace inclusion:

Equal Engagement

When it comes to work, everyone needs to have the same opportunities to engage and interact. Whether this be in meetings, social conversation, training, or decision-making, everyone needs to be as involved as each other. 

When people are left out and excluded, it affects their self-esteem, wellbeing and mental health. It makes them withdraw even further and leads to a negative, vicious cycle within the workplace. If we want people to be happy and cooperative at work, we need to make sure they have the exact same opportunities for engagement as everyone else. 

This means providing the opportunities and monitoring that they are being carried out in a fair and equitable way. Small acts like checking women aren’t being spoken over in meetings and big acts like purposely appointing people of colour to make decisions on a corporate level if they aren’t already represented are all important in this process. 

Financial Security via Equal Pay

Financial inclusion is something we might not think about enough. For people coming from less privileged socioeconomic backgrounds, there can be a lot of stress and uncertainty around personal finances. This stress can spill into every area of life, including work. 

To help everyone have the same levels of happiness at work, we need to make sure that all of our employees feel safe and secure in terms of their pay. Without this, many employees will suffer in terms of their mental and even physical health. 

We need to be proactively monitoring pay, promotion and recruitment for diversity and inclusion. If we aren’t, then we are letting a lot of damage potentially slip through the cracks. Not acknowledging something doesn’t mean it isn’t there and talking about pay and salary isn’t rude. 

Pay everyone equally and based on their job role. Then you will see a dramatic balancing of health and well-being at work.

Promotion and Role Equality

On a similar note to our previous point, promotion and role equality are essential aspects of work inclusivity. 

Promotions can be a big blind spot for companies and workplaces in terms of inclusivity. To be truly inclusive, we need to take a good look at our internal processes and figure out how we can make them as inclusive as possible. If we have a white, middle-class, male panel making all the decisions for promotions, we are not being committed to inclusion. 

Everyone needs to get a fair chance at every promotion and they need to know that too. This scenario breeds healthy competition, self-esteem and hopefulness. That is the work environment we all want to be in.

Freedom of Expression and Self

When people feel that they can’t be who they truly are, this directly impacts how they feel and act at work. If we have created a work environment in which toxic biases and stereotypes run the show, we undoubtedly will have members of staff who feel that they cannot be themselves. This leads to unhappiness and lack of wellbeing.

Harbouring an environment of freedom of expression and self is the only way to have healthy, safe, and happy members of staff. 

How Employers Can Help Foster Sustainable Inclusion for Wellbeing

Employers have a big role to play in inclusion. The inclusion we create at work needs to be both relevant and sustainable. If it is a box-ticking exercise or something that will trail off in 6 months, it isn’t worth having. 

Employers need to: 

  • Reflect honestly on their current practice
  • Monitor equality, diversity and inclusion and analyse the numbers
  • Make proactive, equitable changes to balance out any existing inclusion
  • Take part in training and education to improve and become more self-aware
  • Listen to all members of staff from all walks of life to hear their point of view
  • Practice inclusivity in a direct way and continue to do so on a long-term basis 

We all have a responsibility to be inclusive and we should all take our own initiative to start to be better at it. If we do, we can see many things change for the better very quickly.

How We Can Help 

At Aspiring to Include, inclusion is in our namesake. We believe in fostering inclusion and wellbeing for every type and category of person out there within the workplace. We know how powerful workplace inclusion can be, for well-being and beyond, and so we want to do everything we can to help it grow. 

There are two sides to our services. Firstly, for diverse jobseekers, we can help you in your job search with practical advice and guidance, support, and opportunities for connection. We have a live job board filled with opportunities from Diversity-Positive employers, who you can also check out separately on our company directory. We want to help everyone find their dream job and dream employer, hopefully, either one of these avenues will work for you 

Secondly, we have support for employers seeking to increase their inclusivity and diversity. We have guidance and resources for you too, alongside bespoke services ready to be availed of. Within these services, we help you go through a journey of inclusivity and ultimately connect with the job seekers you want. 

We believe in inclusivity and we believe in bringing it to as many people as possible. Catch us over on Aspiring to Include for more!

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Last Updated: Thursday September 15 2022
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