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Inclusive Companies Do Better Business

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For immediate release  27th  September 2021


Inclusive Companies Do Better Business

 Being seen to be an inclusive organisation is different from being an inclusive organisation 

Leading Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) expert Stephen Frost calls on organisations to rethink inclusion in the workplace as an approach that benefits company outputs and should be embedded in all their decision-making.  Inclusive organisations do better business, are more productive, generate more revenue, perform better on problem-solving and strategy tasks, think more creatively, are better at negotiating, and make enhanced decisions. Additionally, employees at these organisations report feeling increased engagement, motivation, trust, and well-being in the workplace.

More inclusive workplaces have higher customer satisfaction.  Recent research in the health sector has shown that more inclusive practices lead to more engagement of health partitioners, leading to better patient outcomes. In other sectors too, this increased engagements drives productivity - as reported by the US Department of Veteran Affairs that projected an $18 billion annual saving could be achieved with increased engagement from inclusive practices.  McKinsey's How Inclusion Matters report shows that UK and US companies with gender or ethnically diverse executive teams, over 30% are likely to outperform those with less ethnic diversity or fewer women.

In support of National Inclusion Week 2021 (27th September to 3rd October), Stephen Frost urges organisations to renew their commitment to inclusion as a commercial imperative that will enable them to do better business.  As the nation recovers from lockdowns, the effects of Covid-19, the inequalities shown up by Black Lives Matter, and the fallout from Brexit, employers need to play their part in the recovery process of their employees. The workplace can become a true catalyst for change.

Stephen Frost, CEO, and founder of Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy Included, says: "When we ask executives to name their closest friends and closest colleagues, nine times out of ten, their colleagues are more diverse than their friends.  This means the workplace, not our personal lives, is the catalyst for inclusion and where real change can take place.  In our professional lives, we have a responsibility to include in order to get work done.  The workplace is where recalibration can occur, where people have to work with others from outside their cultural and social groups."

Stephen is the CEO and founder of Included Ltd, a Diversity and Inclusion Consultancy, Included works with some of the major companies in the UK and globally to create inclusive workplaces. Stephen lectures worldwide, including at Harvard Business School, and has written several books on D&I, including Building An Inclusive Organisation

Stephen's top five inclusion practices all employers should embed in the workplace

  1. Psychological safety - This is the most important factor in making people feel included in an organisation.  Psychological safety is how comfortable your people feel when they are looking to express dissatisfaction or disagreement, suggest innovation, or potentially make mistakes. A nudge that could be made to increase psychological safety is to assign a person to play devil's advocate in team working situations. This can help people feel more comfortable voicing their dissent, and the role can be rotated throughout the team. This can reduce bias in meetings and aid decision-making.  Creating a space that encourages disagreement can be helpful to reduce groupthink and encourage people to bring their authentic selves to work.

  1. Transparency - To better retain talent, organisations need to ensure transparency and objectivity in their performance and reward structures.  Develop an open culture with strong communication in all directions within the organisation. Open dialogue and active listening are essential elements of the culture here. Actively seek feedback from your teams and take action on ideas and suggestions received. Keep lines of communication open through a range of accessible methods such as intranets, newsletters and other avenues of internal communication. It is also important to call out bad behaviour, establish clear, inclusive talent pathways, and internally publish salaries for pay transparency.
  2. Micro-behaviours - Often unconscious, sometimes unnoticeable behaviours such as language, tone and gestures, have a significant impact on various organisational outcomes including team effectiveness and perception of company values.  All employees should be trained to understand and engage with inclusion in how they do their jobs and work with colleagues. This needs to be baked into the organisation's design.  Colleagues must understand that they have an individual responsibility to uphold these standards. Introduce clear processes to deal with all forms of harassment and bullying, to make it clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
  3. Measurement - Many organisations have become adept at measuring diversity, but few are measuring inclusion adequately.  The behaviours and experiences of the workforce must be measured to fully understand what needs to be done.  Included has developed a unique Inclusion Diagnostic that leverages insight, research, and data to enable a more precise diagnosis and allows more targeted inclusive solutions to be put in place.
  4. The ‘Understand, Lead, Deliver' theory of change - First, we must understand the problem and define our own "why" in a way that makes sense to us and our work. Second, we must take personal responsibility for our own leadership. No-one else can lead for you. Third, we must deliver - focus on concrete actions that are thought-through, personal to us and make a measurable difference to those around us. 

 Find out more aboutIncluded's approach to diversityhere.

For case studies and interviews please contact: Avis Robinson - KCL Communications on 07769742715


Notes to editor

About Stephen Frost andIncluded

Stephen Frost is CEO and Founder of Included, a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Consultancy. He works with individuals, teams, and organisations to embed inclusive leadership in their decision-making, to benefit them and the world at large.Includedhas worked with over 500 organisations, over 20,000 executives and employees and has produced more than 300 articles on D&I. He works with clients in the UK and worldwide, including the NHS, AstraZeneca, the White House, ITN,  BBC, Ofcom, The Bank of England, Uber, KPMG, and the Welcome Trust.  Previously, he was Head of Diversity and Inclusion at KPMG, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Stonewall's first Workplace director.

He was educated at Oxford and Harvard. Stephen and his team have won numerous awards for their work. He has lectured at Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University and Sciences Po in France and also served as an Advisor to the British Government. He is the author ofThe Inclusion Imperative(2014), co-author ofInclusive Talent Management(2016), and co-author ofBuilding an Inclusive Organisation