Inclusive cultures have healthier and happier workers

Viewed in BCG

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), currently the world’s second largest management consulting firm, takes a close look at the ongoing challenge of inclusiveness in work environments in this survey and accompanying article, and it includes some good news: In an age where a sense of inclusiveness is important among employees, the firm’s October 2020 survey of 16,000 full and part-time employees in 16 countries across a broad range of industries found that a relatively impressive 70 percent of employees report that they do feel included in their respective workplaces.

In Nordic countries, that number was even more impressive: 85 percent. One trouble spot among the countries surveyed, however, was Japan, where 35 percent reported that did not feel included in their workplace.

Inclusiveness expands employee commitment and motivation.

This study rests on the broad late 20th century conclusion by global companies that perhaps should have been obvious even earlier: there exists a clear correlation between an employee’s health and mental wellness and their respective productivity and longevity in their jobs.

Given that employers have an obvious stake in a workforce that has high levels of both productivity and employment longevity, many companies began instituting wellness and related health programs in the 1990s that had provided some marginal benefit. In more recent years, however, these programs have been augmented by a growing recognition that a sense of inclusiveness is vital in expanding employee commitment and motivation.

Unequivocally supported by data

This recognition of the importance of inclusivity by companies is based on compelling statistics reported in this BCG report. “Our international survey found that employees who indicate they are happy at work are 1.5 times more likely, compared with those who are unhappy, to say they always want to give their best,” the report concludes.

Unsurprisingly, the inverse is also true. “Workers who report they are unhappy at work are 4.6 times more likely to indicate they will probably leave their current employer within six months,” BCG concludes in this report.

Inclusiveness support from top to bottom within an organization

So if it is stipulated that a happy employee is a more productive and committed employee, what can companies actually do that is both tangible and yet realistic to foster this in their workforce?

BCG offers a few proven steps: First, companies must ensure that their commitment to inclusiveness is evident from top to bottom within an organization. In their survey, BCG found that “employees who see consistent support through all leadership ranks are 25% more likely to feel included than employees in companies where only senior executives, but not direct managers, demonstrate commitment.”

Perpetrate an unequivocal feeling of belonging

Second, BCG writes, is a company’s recognition of identity inclusiveness among their workforce. “To build a feeling of belonging, the company’s values must be respectful of every employee’s individual identity, which comprises many factors beyond gender, sexual orientation, and ethnicity or race. Age, socioeconomic background, immigration status, physical differences, and life context—such as whether a person is a caregiver or lives in a dual-career household—all define who employees are and how they experience the workplace,” BCG concludes in this report that reflects the corporate world’s growing commitment to employee inclusion.

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