Sunday, March 15, 2015

Inclusion as a Strategy

Employee Inclusion = Engagement, Innovation, Retention, Loyalty, and Productivity.

Inclusion starts with a thought process, a mind, besides the conventional understanding of diversity -gender, race, age, etc., inclusiveness nowadays is more about how to embrace the cognitive difference, the color of character, or diversity of viewpoints. It needs to become the key ingredient of corporate culture; Further, it should be viewed as a company-wide strategy. But how to implement it?

Senior management should view inclusion as part of a talent strategy, which is also part of the overall business strategy: An inclusive workforce brings the best talent for the job without prejudice. Managers need to remember that happy team members generate better results. In the end, that is the best of the company. There is also the external impacts inclusive strategies give the business. The potential employees are looking at the brand and are comparing different organizations, not just on market share and organization size, but also on the 'warm and fuzzies;' so what do you do to show you care about your employees, how is your reputation as an employer in the marketplace.

Inclusion goes beyond getting the right numbers: At the end of the day, you want the people to bring in growth, by building a competitive edge (both internal and external) and innovation. The challenge is to get managers to recognize how inclusion improves retention, engagement, etc., as opposed to being an exercise in compliance mandated by HR. Inclusion goes beyond getting the right numbers. It is an overall strategy involving everyone in the organization that when successful, leads to cultural changes that improve all these key success factors for business. The enabler for the performance is through:
- Great Culture
- Agile Attitude
- Passionate and committed towards Goals

Customer inclusion: There are very few companies that do not have contact with people. Inclusion strategy is all about engagement, friendly bondage, truthfulness, ethical and justifiable environment with a view to all partners being a brand ambassador. No matter what you are selling, customers come in all shapes, sizes, and nationalities, and orientations. Your customer should be represented in your company makeup. That is your company should be reflective of your customer. Let us remember you may not approve of what your customer does in their personal life, but that should not make a difference.

Employee Inclusion = Engagement, Retention, Loyalty, and Productivity: The key to business success is the inclusion of employees. The moment an employee feels marginalized, their beehive demotivated and productivity drops. The logic steps for inclusion scenario are:
Inclusion step 1 = Engagement. To engage, you have to communicate to each other. Even better if all parties can speak the language of business.  
Inclusion step 2 = Retention. People are more likely to stay if they are engaged. Plus all of the comfort factors: valued, interesting work, etc.
Inclusion step 3 = Loyalty. A strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Inclusion step 4 = Productivity. Develop the people and you develop the organization.
Have an open session and tell people that the organization would like to embark upon the road of total inclusion as that appears to be the only way to move forward. Identify a list of situations in your day to day transaction failures have led to high visibility and escalations. Steadily, objectively drive the drill down the process to arrive at what could have been done to avoid this situation. Not surprisingly, you would find that the answer lies in inclusion. Quantify the loss to the business. Play out the scenario of what would have been the cost of completing the process if inclusion had been achieved.

Inclusion measurement: In the vein of what gets measured gets attention, you should make inclusion part of the measures that are used to evaluate performance. When people fail to include, it should be clear as to what the penalty would be. Only then would you go beyond what you do to include. There are plenty more questions one can ask to illustrate the importance of inclusion and many other staff retention strategies, such as getting the line managers to calculate the costs of staff replacement and opportunity costs of staff turnover and loyalty. Furthermore, it is even more critical that HR pros and other senior managers, do not intimidate line managers with fancy terminology, instead, make these principles real practical, indicating the benefits of employing such concepts and highlighting the consequences of not engaging in such strategies.

The talent managers must work with the right mindset to recreate an inclusive organization with every dip in the business life cycle, from individual thinking to collective mind (culture); from strategy to execution; from process management to performance measurement, to make it both principle and practice; for engaging employees and delighting customers.


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