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Stereotypes emerge from our tendency to classify and simplify the reality around us.

They in theory do not mean something negative, as certain perceptions or generalizations can have positive connotations. Only those that do not have such a tinge are called biases. These are negative feelings or attitudes toward a certain group of people.

Stereotypes in the work environment play a significant, though often unwelcome role in influencing the way we view, judge and evaluate ourselves and others in the workplace. Biases especially those related to gender, race, age or nationality, can influence employment-related decisions. They often lead to discrimination and injustice. They can spoil the relation at work by treating employees unequally and distorting the assessment of their skills and competencies. Even when stereotypes are unconsciously put into practice, they can perpetuate unjust structures and limit diversity, innovation and thus the potential of an entire organization.

Unconscious biases develop over time as we accumulate life experiences and come across various stereotypes. They can negatively affect relation with co-workers, team dynamics and business decisions.

Addressing and overcoming unconscious biases can help to tackle those issues and increase the diversity of the company. It allows fair decision-making, encourage creativity and innovation, improves employee engagement, results in higher levels of productivity as well as increases company revenues. The company will benefit from attracting diverse talent.

Therefore, it is crucial to make all necessary efforts to recognise and acknowledge our biases, ensure they do not determine our behaviour and always react when others representing such a negative attitude.

These actions will allow to maintaining and properly manage diversity, ensuring rapid and dynamic development of the organisation.

DARE is here to support Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as they need to become more diverse and inclusive to reflect the world they live in today. Embracing various dimensions of diversity in the workplace is crucial for adopting an inclusive environment where all employees can thrive. This section and interactive resource highlights key aspects of human identity and diversity, aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5, 8, 9, 10, and 16. If we look at some of the key dimensions of Diversity and Inclusion, we begin to understand just how imperative they are to not just employees but managers, the communities and the economy. Let's look at a couple of examples of just how integrated the dimensions are to how we live, work and play.

Dimensions of SME Diversity Inclusion (26 downloads )

Understanding and embracing these dimensions of diversity can help SMEs create more inclusive and dynamic workplaces. DARE does just this and assists in ensuring a positive work environment and supports key Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to a more equitable and sustainable future. Explore each dimension in the document below to learn how your SME can benefit from and contribute to a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Embracing diversity and nurturing inclusivity in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can yield numerous benefits. The DARE Project creates a more vibrant, innovative, and resilient company culture that offers triple benefits for employees, customers, and the business. Below, we outline the advantages of becoming more inclusive and diverse in the workplace, supported by key facts and figures. Here are some examples of the benefits of embracing diversity and inclusion practices and policies. By understanding and leveraging the benefits, SMEs can create a more dynamic and successful business environment. Embrace diversity and inclusion with DARE to unlock your company’s full potential. Let's look at a few reports that have identified some of the benefits SMEs can achieve.

Here are some of the key areas that SMEs can benefit from inclusivity and diversity.

Benefits of SME Diversity Inclusion (33 downloads )

Embracing diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do but also a strategic advantage for SMEs. By nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace, SMEs can drive innovation, attract top talent, improve employee satisfaction, and enhance their market competitiveness. This, in turn, leads to a stronger, more resilient business that is well-equipped to navigate the challenges of today’s global market. Have a look at the below document, download and share for more information.

Creating a workplace environment that transcends the notions of diversity and inclusion is imperative for organizational success. It's the addition of a critical element: belonging. Within the framework of fostering a sense of belonging, companies witness an emotional evolution in their workforce, a space where employees not only participate but truly feel valued and embraced.

While diversity and inclusion initiatives are crucial, they are mere invitations extended to individuals. Belonging, on the other hand, represents the heartfelt acceptance of that invitation. It's about ensuring that each employee feels welcomed, connected, and appreciated for their authentic selves, contributing unique perspectives that enrich the overall business landscape.

The distinction between inclusion and belonging is subtle yet impactful. Inclusion sets the stage, inviting individuals to participate, while belonging empowers them to willingly accept that invitation. Achieving belonging signifies a workplace culture where employees confidently bring their genuine selves, fostering an environment of trust and acceptance.

So, how can organizations actively foster this sense of belonging?

1. Leadership Commitment

Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping a culture of belonging. When senior leaders champion belonging as a core value, it permeates through the organization. Training managers to foster support, open communication, and career development further solidifies this commitment.

2. Clear Communication

Transparent communication reinforces inclusion and belonging values. Consistently discussing and affirming these principles, updating on progress, and setting clear expectations create an environment of trust and transparency.

3. Empowering Employee Voices

Encouraging dialogue rather than monologue is key. Actively listening to diverse perspectives, valuing feedback, and involving employees in decision-making processes creates an inclusive atmosphere. This empowerment builds confidence, encouraging individuals to contribute their thoughts without hesitation.

4. Living Core Values

Consistency in upholding inclusive values, both in significant actions and daily interactions, forms the foundation of belonging. It's about practicing inclusivity continually rather than sporadically, creating a supportive and connected workplace every day.

The power of fostering belonging transcends mere rhetoric; it brings forth numerous benefits. Engaged employees feel a sense of commitment and connection, resulting in heightened productivity and overall satisfaction. When individuals feel they belong, they are more likely to invest themselves in the company's success, thereby ensuring longevity and meaningful contributions. In essence, this isn't just a corporate initiative—it's a collective commitment to celebrating the uniqueness s of each individual and creating a workplace where everyone feels they truly

Fancy something new? We will show you an interactive exercise in which intensive exchange and new input are pre-programmed. By visiting the Albatross culture, participants learn that they always interpret situations with the help of their own social and cultural conditioning. However, this interpretation is one view among many and does not have to be “the only correct one”. Especially in intercultural teams, this exercise can lead to exciting discussions and create an intensive group experience. Are you curious? Then find out here how to bring the Albatross culture to your network!

Note: We recommend this exercise for a group size of 12 – 25 people. You will need 30 – 60 min time and a room where a circle of chairs is possible. Lastly, you will need a bowl of peanuts, bread, or something similar and two volunteers of different genders (in the rest of the article we refer to male and female, but this is not exclusive. Any gender can take part in the exercise, but care should be taken to ensure that they are different in order to achieve the effect of the exercise).

Preparation of the exercise:

The two volunteers are “initiated” into the Albatross culture beforehand outside the group. They wait outside the room for their assignment.

The group sits in a semicircle of chairs. In front of the semicircle is an empty chair, under which is the bowl of peanuts. Inform the participants that they will now receive a visit from two people from a foreign culture: the Albatross culture. The group is to observe the behavior of the persons and find out the cultural peculiarities. There is to be no talking during the entire visit – ask all participants to be considerate of this.

Progression of the exercise:

The man* and woman* enter the room in silence, with the woman walking at a clear distance behind the man. Both look into the group in a friendly manner and then approach the participants one after the other. Crossed legs of male participants are gently but clearly placed on the floor. Women are asked to sit on the floor with a gesture. The male Albatross touches only the male participants (if necessary), and the female Albatross touches only the female participants. If the participants reposition themselves, they are gently but firmly corrected by gestures.

Then the man sits down on the empty chair while the woman kneels next to him on the floor. Both sit facing the group. The woman lifts the bowl of peanuts and hands it to the man. He takes some peanuts, chews them demonstratively, and then hands the bowl to the woman. She eats a few nuts and then puts the bowl aside.

Now the man puts his hand on the woman’s shoulder. She bends forward closely three times, touching the floor with her head. Finally, man and woman stand up and leave the room with quiet steps, with the man leading again and the woman following.

Interpretation of the situation:

Ask the group to describe what they have seen (without evaluation or interpretation, but beware, this is not easy!). Afterwards, they may interpret what they have seen. Some will perceive the role of women in the Albatross culture as low ranking, giving examples such as sitting on the floor or the fact that the man eats the food first. After the interpretation session, participants will receive information about Albatross culture:

In Albatross, the earth is considered something divine, and the ultimate goal is to live in harmony with mother earth. The woman is considered a mediator of the divine, as many women can bear children and are thus perceived to be closer to nature. Therefore, the woman is allowed to sit on the earth and touch it, whereas this is forbidden to the man. Therefore he has to sit at a distance on an uncomfortable sitting frame (chair). The only way he can come into contact with the earth is through his feet when sitting, and through the woman’s contact when she leans down to the ground. Otherwise, he is not allowed to touch a woman. The man’s task is to taste the woman’s food and walk in front of her to protect her from possible danger.

In a final discussion, you may work out how such prejudices come about. If it is humiliating in one culture to take a seat on the floor, this can be something honorable with another cultural imprint. Are there situations from everyday life where participants have experienced something similar? We are eager to hear your stories!

Just as the Albatross community exercise teaches us about cultural understanding, the DARE project empowers VET professionals and entrepreneurs to embrace Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) in SMEs. By focusing on practical leadership and advocating for equality, DARE revitalizes SME practices. These initiatives promote inclusivity, strengthen businesses, and elevate their reputation in diverse communities and industries. Both the Albatross exercise and DARE highlight the importance of cultural understanding and inclusion in today's business world.

**In this article we refer to man/male and woman/female, but this serves just as an example and is not exclusive. Any gender is welcome to take part in the exercise, but care should be taken to ensure that they are different in order to achieve the effect of the exercise.

Hey there! Making your workplace super welcoming for everyone? That's the goal! But guess what? SME managers and owners face some pretty common challenges on the road to making this dream a reality.

Let's talk about these hurdles and, more importantly, how you can leap over them like a champ to create that awesome, inclusive environment where everyone feels like a rockstar, no matter who they are.

Resistance to Change: Yep, change can be challenging for some individuals. But don't worry, we've got your back! You can ease this transition by effectively communicating the changes, highlighting the benefits of inclusivity, and showcasing the positive impact it brings.

Lack of Representation: Have you noticed a lack of diversity in your workplace? You're not alone. It's essential to address this issue by actively promoting representation and creating a more inclusive environment. By doing so, you ensure that individuals from all backgrounds have an equal chance at your company to grow and thrive.

Unconscious Bias: Have you heard of the sneaky thoughts called biases? They can unknowingly influence our perception and create barriers. But don't worry, there's a solution! By promoting awareness and fairness in hiring, promotions, and workplace interactions, we can overcome these biases – Awareness is the first step!

Microaggressions and Discrimination: Discriminatory behaviors, even if they seem small, have a big impact. It's not okay to make others feel inferior through hurtful words or actions. Let's make it a rule that mean behavior is not acceptable. Education is key – make sure everyone understands why these behaviors are harmful and how they can make someone feel extremely hurt.

Inclusive Communication and Language: Language matters too! It's crucial to use words that are inclusive and welcoming for everyone. Long, confusing words can create barriers, so let's keep things simple and friendly. This will make sure that everyone feels comfortable and included in the conversation.

So there you have it, SME Diversity champs! Take these challenges step by step, and soon your workplace will be the friendliest place around! Let's make every person feel like a superstar at work! You've got this!

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The basis of diversity management is diagnosing the needs of employees and implementing activities that will enable the use of the potential of diverse teams by building inclusive workplaces. The problem is that as many as 85 percent employers in Poland do not conduct activities aimed at supporting a specific group of employees. This is incomprehensible in the context of many challenges faced by the labour market in Poland, such as the economic activity rate of people with disabilities or the issue of combining work with care for children or dependent adults, such as parents.

Lately, however, more and more companies mobilised by EU directives realise the fact that effective functioning of the company highly depends on respect for equality and diversity of its employees and business partners. One of the best examples  so far is TMobile that has included diversity in the canon of its organisational values and makes every effort to create the most inclusive work environment possible. In 2020 the project called "We love diversity. The Power of Diversity” has been launched aiming to promote diversity both within T-Mobile and among the company's business partners.

The representative of T-Mobile Polska emphasizes that education within the company is extremely important in promoting diversity and should result from its policy

Their values: Inclusiveness and diversity are an integral part of their sustainable development strategy.

Their efforts already contribute to the growth, attractiveness and well-being of the organization's employees and can be a good example to follow by other companies.

Undeniably diversity management should be based on the education of all employees. These may be courses or training equipping participants with knowledge about the differences between employees and how to use them when working in a team.

Therefore, we believe that our activities under the DARE project will perfectly fill the gap of lack of such training.

The results of our work on this topic will appear soon, stay tuned!

Marginalised Gender Well-being. A Great organisation is one that fosters a great culture for all employees, not just a select few. It is for this reason that adopting inclusion practices for marginalised groups such as the LGBTQIA+ community is so important in the workplace. LGBTQIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer, which is a term for people of marginalised gender identities and sexual orientations who are not cisgender and/or heterosexual. LGBTQIA+ individuals in particular may face unique challenges and stressors in the workplace, including the fear of coming out, facing discrimination, or experiencing microaggressions. Inclusive practices help create a supportive and affirming environment, promoting the mental health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ employees.

Social and Legislative Progress Against Hate and Harassment. Over the last 20 years there has been significant social and legislative progress for LGBTQIA+ people in Ireland, resulting in legal protections for LGBTQIA+ employees such as the Unfair Dismissals Act, the Parental Leave Act, the Employment Equality Acts, the Marriage Act and the Gender Recognition Act. However, legal protections do not necessarily guarantee LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness across the board. 75 per cent of LGBTQIA+ people have reported being verbally hurt for their sexual orientation or identity over their lifetime, while 87 per cent of Irish community members have experienced hate and harassment online in the past year, according to LGBT Ireland. (1)

Legislative policies are a step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go before there is equality across the board, and in the workplace this is no different. LGBTQIA+ inclusivity is not just a matter of legal compliance; it is a strategic imperative that contributes to a positive work culture, employee satisfaction, and organisational success. In this article are some ideas on how to implement inclusion practices for the LGBTQIA+ community in the workplace.

Educating Staff from The Top Down

One of the most important steps in fostering a culture of inclusivity is education. Educating staff at all levels is crucial in order to increase awareness and understanding of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals. This can be through things like Diversity and Inclusion training, establishing Employee Resource Groups or hosting panels or speakers from prominent LGBTQIA+ organisations. If they are not directly involved in the community, many of your employees may not be familiar with the experiences and challenges LGBTQIA+ people can face on a daily basis. Providing them with resources through which they can learn can dispel stereotypes, myths, and misconceptions, fostering a more inclusive and respectful work environment.

In providing education on such topics, in turn you can help prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace. By promoting awareness of appropriate language, behaviour, and inclusive practices, employees are less likely to engage in discriminatory or harassing actions. Education also empowers employees to intervene if they witness such behaviour, creating a culture of accountability and support among LGBTQIA+ employees and allies.

Being The Best Ally You Can Be

An ally can be defined as someone who is not a member of a marginalised group but wants to support and take action to help others in that group. Allyship in the workplace is crucial for inclusion and equality. Even though you yourself may not directly experience the hardships some of those in the LGBTQIA+ community have to endure, it is important to place yourself in their shoes and be there as an active support, whenever necessary. This means building a high trust culture with your employees, encouraging open communication and listening through educative pieces as previously mentioned. 

This also means standing up for employees at the hands of discrimination, and not shying away when it comes to actually dealing with issues affecting the community. A report published by global consultancy group Robert Walters found that Irish LGBTQIA+ women in particular are being let down in the workplace, with as many as 1 in 5 saying they don’t trust their leaders to defend “what is right”. (2)

Some examples of how to show your support for your LGBTQIA+ colleagues are:

Download the report to find out who made the 2023 Best Workplaces for Women! 👇

Celebrating LGBTQIA+ History and Events

Celebrating LGBTQIA+ events in the workplace is an excellent way to show support, promote inclusivity, and foster a positive work environment. 87 per cent of employees at our Best Workplaces agree with the statement "I can be myself around here", with 96 per cent agreeing that "people here are treated fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation"In hosting events and boosting awareness, you are further reinforcing your organisation's commitment to allyship for the community. This could be done through things like:

It’s important to ensure that these celebrations and activities are inclusive, respectful, and aligned with the needs and preferences of the LGBTQIA+ community in your organisation. Where possible, engage with employees and seek their input to ensure that the celebrations are meaningful and supportive. It is also important to refrain from performative displays of allyship or “rainbow washing” – if your organisation has no procedures in place for LGBTQIA+ employees except for changing the colours of its logo to the rainbow each June, you’re sending the wrong message to not just your employees, but the wider community as well.

 Avoid a “One-Size-Fits-All” Approach

Taking all of this into account, it is important to stay away from a “one size fits all" approach to implementing inclusivity practices in your organisation. The LGBTQIA+ community encompasses a wide range of identities, and each identity has unique experiences, needs, and challenges, as well as intersecting identities such as race, ethnicity and religion. A "one size fits all" approach may overlook these differences and fail to address specific concerns and issues faced by individuals within the community. Ignoring intersectionality and implementing a generalised approach may inadvertently exclude or marginalise individuals who face additional forms of discrimination.

On top of this, a "one size fits all" approach may perpetuate stereotypes, biases, or tokenism. It can create a culture that does not genuinely value or understand the diverse experiences of LGBTQIA+ employees. Building an inclusive organisational culture requires acknowledging and embracing the richness and complexity of LGBTQIA+ identities and making that effort to understand these complexities for yourself, rather than reading an inclusivity handbook and calling it a day.

It is important to engage with LGBTQIA+ employees, seek their input, and involve them in the decision-making process. By embracing diversity and inclusivity within the LGBTQIA+ community, organisations can create a workplace that values the uniqueness and experiences of all individuals, not just a select few.


(1) The LGBTIreland Report: national study of the mental health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Ireland

(2) Driving Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace - A Robert Walters Group Company

More resources on workplace inclusion:

 About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. We help organizations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. We recognise Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in more than 60 countries. To join the thousands of companies that have committed to building high-trust company cultures that help them attract, retain and take care of their people, contact us about getting Certified today.


Inclusion and Diversity is a Positive Change for Irish SMEs

CIPD Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Positive change on inclusion can only come about through concerted, meaningful and intentional action. CIPD know that while the business case for diversity and inclusion is useful, financial outcomes are not the ultimate goal for inclusion at work. Creating shared value and distributing it to various stakeholders in its different forms is more important than driving business performance for financial stakeholders alone. If organisations are to achieve fair and sustainable forms of work that benefit all stakeholders (workers included), we need to locate inclusion at the centre of strategy and practice. It’s therefore crucial that people professionals help leaders in their organisations to move beyond bottom-line thinking and instead consider a very real and achievable alternative that works for all stakeholders, workers included: the triple bottom line in which workplaces are fair, transparent and inclusive.

Making this future a reality requires real commitment to change and tangible investment in improving management practices and capability. It also requires a long, hard look at the practices people professionals lean heavily on to understand if they really are inclusive, and an assessment of what must be improved if we’re to create more inclusive workplaces. Being evidence based is a key way for people professionals to ensure that the work they do is more likely to create positive outcomes, and does not unintentionally harm or exclude oppressed groups from good-quality work. Ultimately evidence must be the basis of decisions we make in the profession, and this should be apparent nowhere more so than in the inclusion space.

We assess the evidence on important questions relating to workplace inclusion, to better equip people professionals to truly deliver change and support their organisations to transform for the better. We research supports practitioners to build their knowledge and expertise and enables them to deliver lasting change for their organisations and the many stakeholders they serve every day.

Edward Houghton, Head of Research and Thought Leadership, CIPD

Making The Case for Inclusion

A focus on workplace diversity and inclusion (D&I) has undoubtedly led to progress in tackling workplace inequality in recent decades.

Gender is only one aspect. For example, the gap between female and male employment rates in the UK is the lowest since it was first recorded in 1971,1 meaning the UK workforce is more gender-diverse than ever. On the other hand, FTSE 100 CEOs in 2018 were more likely to be called Dave or Steve, than be female,2 meaning male and female experiences of workplace progression aren’t equal. And, gender is just one aspect of diversity. One piece of research highlights that if the current rate of progress remains the same, FTSE 100 companies won’t meet targets for BAME board representation until 2066.

Minority groups still have barriers to equality. Clearly, more needs to be done to make workplaces inclusive as well as diverse. Increasing representation for minority groups is not a panacea to these issues. Businesses must tackle barriers to equality, such as poor progression prospects, bias (both conscious and unconscious), over and above complying with legislation, to make real change. However, in previous CIPD research, Diversity and Inclusion at Work: Facing up to the business case, we identified a lack of robust evidence on how to meaningfully address barriers to equality.

Inclusion is considered to be the missing piece of the puzzle. An inclusive workplace culture allows all people to thrive at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance. However, how an inclusive organisation is developed, and what inclusion really means in practice, is less clear.

SMEs need to better define and understand inclusion, understand how inclusion relates to workplace outcomes and, importantly, how people professionals, line managers and business leaders can contribute to the development of more inclusive workplaces.

Box 1: Diversity, equality, equity or inclusion?
Diversity refers to demographic differences of a group – often at team or organisational level. Often, diversity references protected characteristics in UK law: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. CIPD members can find information on the legislation in relation to these characteristics in our topic pages and factsheets.5 Equality means equal rights and opportunities are afforded to all. The 2010 Equality Act in the UK protects those with protected characteristics from direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace.6 Equity recognises that treating everyone equally has shortcomings, when the playing field is not level. An equity approach emphasises that everyone should not be treated the same, but according to their own needs. Inclusion is often defined as the extent to which everyone at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, feels valued, accepted and supported to succeed at work. This report explores this definition in more detail, to understand what inclusion means in practice, and how it might be assessed.

A Numbers Game?

Economic research shows benefits. A focus on increasing diversity at work is undoubtedly positive for individuals, and wider society. The economic case for more diverse workplaces is clear; research from the US shows that participation of women in state-level labour markets is linked to wage increases for all, and in the UK, research identifies that full representation of BAME individuals in the labour market would reap benefits to the tune of £24 billion.

Increases business performance is conceptually limited. This emphasis on diversity has perhaps been in part due to the focus (in both research and practice) on building the business case for diversity. Along with progressive policy-making and changing societal norms, this case has highlighted the importance of taking action on diversity. However, the focus on the traditional business case – that diversity increases business performance – is conceptually limited.

Individuals and their potential. First, it’s important to note that at individual level, being able to access and succeed in work, regardless of background and circumstance, is a basic tenet of equality, which employers have a responsibility to champion regardless of potential return on investment for diversity programmes. (For a discussion of the terms used in this report, see Box 1.)

Research also shows that the link between diversity and performance is highly dependent on context. As one author puts it, ‘simply representing a greater variety of differences in an organization or group is not a magical path towards greater performance’. In other words, having a diverse workforce is a good start, but there are other important factors that influence workplace outcomes, such as employee experience and organisational context.

Diversity needs people and systemic change. Finally, the business case isn’t always effective in galvanising employers to make systemic changes that tackle barriers to inclusion and equality. It focuses on moving the dial on diversity numbers, but not on systemic change. Increasing diversity through targeted recruitment, for example, is unlikely to tackle the underlying causes of a lack of diversity.

From Diversity to Inclusion

Everyone experiences a company differently. Positively, inclusion is increasingly seen as a key driver of progress towards workplaces where everyone can thrive, recognising that workplaces aren’t inclusive for everyone. Indeed, employees in the same company can experience the workplace differently depending on their line manager and team, but also background and circumstances.

It’s clear that, as well as employing inclusive practices, different perspectives, beliefs and norms must be valued by an organisation and its leaders and employees for a diverse workforce to thrive. How best to make this change is less clear.

For example, recent figures from a survey of over 100,000 LGBT people in the UK found that ‘23% had experienced a negative or mixed reaction from others in the workplace due to being LGBT or being thought to be LGBT’, and a CIPD survey of BAME employees found that BAME employees were more likely to say identity of background can impact the opportunities given at work. More broadly, findings from the CIPD UK Working Lives survey highlight that 22% of employees feel that other team members would judge others for being different.

These findings highlight that focusing on diversity alone could even be counterproductive as it doesn’t address the systemic challenges to workplace equality and inclusion, such as workplace culture. It instead puts underrepresented, or less ‘powerful’, groups in harm’s way, potentially doing more harm than good.

Inclusion, then, might be a better starting point for organisations wanting to increase diversity. For example, a survey of business leaders and HR professionals found that less inclusive organisations are more likely to fail to be making changes off the back of gender pay gap reporting and cite senior leadership support as a barrier to the success of ethnicity pay gap reporting.

It’s clear that, as well as employing inclusive practices, different perspectives, beliefs and norms must be valued by an organisation and its leaders and employees for a diverse workforce to thrive. How best to make this change is less clear.

Understanding and Taking Action on Inclusion

Inclusion is a promising idea; allowing everyone to be included and supported at work, regardless of their background, makes sense for businesses and employees. But what do we mean when we say an organisation is inclusive? Is it about people management practices, employee experience and organisational values, or a combination of these factors?

Without clarity on what inclusion means, taking targeted action in organisations is challenging – and, there is a risk that inclusion initiatives are rebranded diversity initiatives that don’t fully address barriers to inclusion.19 Addressing these barriers requires businesses to reflect on their culture and practices, and employee experience more broadly. This lack of clarity also makes it challenging to measure progress and evaluate the success of inclusion strategies.

DARE explores inclusion and inclusive practices and provides guidance for people professionals, business leaders and line managers to measure and improve inclusion in their workplace. It does this by providing a series of resources, training and supports specific to SMEs and entrepreneurs.

Source: Building Inclusive Workplaces Report CIPD

Laura Magan
Tourism and EU Project Specialist

+353 86 130 2198
9 Orchard Court, Leitrim Village, Co. Leitrim, Ireland. N41HY80
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