How Innovative Leadership Can Lead To Better Inclusion In The Workplace

Diversity can make for a better and more robust workforce. When companies recognise and value employees from different races and backgrounds in an inclusive workplace, they will reap the rewards of innovation and creativity. But it's important to understand that diversity and inclusivity are two different things. Once you have successfully established a diverse workforce, inclusivity is the next step. It's about fostering an inclusive environment where every individual feels welcomed and included.

According to reports, a company with an inclusive workplace is six times more likely to be innovative than a non-inclusive workplace. Here’s how innovative leadership can lead to better inclusion in the workplace.

1. Leading In Brand Values

Inclusion is about everyone in the workplace. It refers to the type of environment which strives for equity and respect regardless of origin, race, gender, background, age, and experience. Diversity is about respecting and recognising the unique experiences, qualities, and perspectives that every individual brings to the organisation. One way leadership can lead to better inclusion is to lead in brand values. 

Values-based leadership is the type of leadership based on honesty, trust, respect, and dignity. It’s the type of leadership that regards every individual in the company as a valued individual. Values-based leaders instil a standard set of values in all their employees, which improve their cohesiveness and willingness to work together as a team. Recognising that a manager or leader has similar beliefs often motivates employees to follow what the leader says, which increases the chances of success for every organisation. 

If done right, a values-based leadership enhances engagement and improves performance and retention – all these could foster growth and profitability for the company. Leaders who lead in values have specific traits and qualities that make them good at leading people.

2. Inclusion In Decision Making

In today’s work environment, employees who experience a high level of inclusion at the management or organisational level enjoy favourable outcomes. These include better engagement, improved physical and psychological well-being, and increased performance and intentions to stay in the organisation. Innovative leaders who want to foster inclusivity at the workplace should promote inclusive decision making.

Studies show that inclusive teams can make better decisions. Teams that adhere to an inclusive decision-making process are two times more productive than teams that don’t. In fact, inclusiveness and employee engagement are connected. Engaged employees are more likely to say that their company recognise diverse ideas and do what is right. 

To encourage inclusive decision-making, managers should communicate to their teams that every team member should look at the whole picture regardless of their role. They should put true inclusion into practice in all aspects of their jobs, and managers should express this to the team. They should encourage everyone to seek alternatives and different perspectives when making decisions and solving issues at work.

Employees should feel safe when voicing out different opinions. This is important when establishing trust among members of the organisation. Leaders who foster an environment where employees are encouraged to speak up create psychological safety for employees who may not have been heard in the past. If team members listen and recognise each other’s perspectives, they help build an inclusive workplace.

3. More Inclusive Recruitment

Inclusive recruitment is the process of recruitment that involves recruiting diverse individuals by recognising and valuing different sets of opinions and backgrounds. The hiring process should be intersectional and consider more than just race or gender. An inclusive recruiting environment recognises how differing ideas, experiences, and values can achieve a common goal. By coming up with a diverse workforce team, your teams will be forced to think outside the box when making decisions and addressing issues in the workplace.

In most cases, coming up with a diverse team can be difficult. Sometimes, recruiters could choose candidates that they connect with personally or those that have the same qualities of employees that they already have in the company. 

The first step into having a more inclusive recruitment program is to educate your team on what these biases tend to look like. Most of the biases in recruitment include religion, race, or gender. While it’s essential to be aware of these biases, other biases also exist, which prevents a recruiting team from finding the most suitable candidates. Employers should provide proper training and education to recruitment teams to minimise biases when recruiting. But this learning opportunity should go beyond just recruitment. It’s worth bringing in specialists within the industry. For example, you may need payroll recruitment support to bring in an expert that can get you the diverse coverage you need whilst still using values-driven recruiting. The other teams and departments should also be aware of the importance of having an inclusive environment.

Employers should widen their candidate search when it comes to inclusive recruitment. If your pool of candidates consists of individuals with similar backgrounds, education, and level of experience, your search might be too narrow. Besides, similar individuals use similar channels when applying for jobs. Therefore, think of more creative ways when advertising your job openings to widen your pool of candidates.

4. Leaders Training Managers

Not only is leadership training beneficial to managers, but it’s also beneficial for the company as a whole. If you promote leadership roles, you recognise their abilities, professional drive, and work ethics to succeed.

Managers who lack the necessary skill sets and training can be risky to promote, potentially leading to their downfall and, perhaps, the company. Leadership and management training courses are crucial to the long-term success of every organisation, especially if you want to promote inclusivity in the workplace. When building a high-performing team, leaders should be able to optimise the expertise of their employees and prepare the next generation of influential leaders. By teaching managers practical leadership skills, leaders can increase workplace productivity. One of the essential roles of managers is to provide direction to staff and ensure they perform at their best. During training, they will learn how to manage their teams better, assess problems, and make informed decisions.

Leadership training creates an opportunity for employees to achieve new heights in their careers. As a result, employee performance will be enhanced since they will further develop their skills through invested training. In addition, if you give employees a role that can help shape your company’s future, they will respond with loyalty. Developing existing employees is also more cost-effective than bringing in new talents, as it will not require you to spend money on advertising, recruitment, and onboarding costs.

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