Why is inclusion more complex than diversity?

Companies with diverse workforces perform better financially and we can build a diverse workplace without achieving inclusion. Yet, inclusion remains an enigma, something very complex and hard to achieve. Why? Creating a sense of belonging, or a sense of “usness” requires complex behaviors on the part of both employees and leadership. Building a culture of inclusion within the workplace that respects each employee irrespective of their job title with dignity and acceptance is a hard task.

A study by HR.com “Workplace diversity and inclusion: Emerging awareness and best practices” surveyed over 450 HR professionals and found that companies can improve their D&I performance using the following steps:

  1. Train all employees and every level of leadership. Provide trainings in emotional intelligence (EQ), unconscious bias, supervisory skills, listening skills, problem solving and verbal communications.
  2. Focus on reliable data collection.
  3. Invest in employee engagement through social learning & collaboration.
  4. Leverage internal groups like Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and build allyship programs to give more voice to underrepresented groups in your company.

How am I doing at work? The importance of feedback.

No one talked.

The boss did not call meetings. We worked in silos thinking that everything was going on well with the world. Until, one day work became an autonomous unchallenging tryst with life itself.

A very common situation. During the mid-1990s, I worked for a boss who sat just two feet away. A very nice man but he never believed in feedback. If asked, he would shrug his shoulders and say: “You are doing just fine.”

Managerial feedback is as important as workplace harmony. As human beings, our innate curiosity makes us ask: How and Why.
“You’ve got to look into the mirror before giving feedback to others,” says Suzanne Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “Giving and receiving feedback enhances your credibility,” Dr. Peterson said at a recent coaching session I had the good fortune to attend.

How many of us have asked (or rather dared to ask) direct reports about our own performance? I’ve done it and it has helped me immensely. In one instance, a direct report said: “You need to tell us clearly what you want us to do and then let go.” Translated, it meant: “Shut up and trust me with my work.” I understood clearly that trust matters.

Here are some common sense tips to improve feedback:

  • Make a list of what you do once every two weeks
  • Share  important achievements and challenges with your boss
  • When good things happen, let your boss know. This adds up during your performance review.
  • Jot down key accomplishments as they will help you in your career
  • Always keep an eye on where you want to go (make better lists)
  • Seek feedback from direct reports and peers
  • Even if your boss doesn’t respond, keep sending lists. We all know  that record keeping helps.
  • Finally, believe in yourself. We can improve and help others be better.