Psychological safety - a work environment in which all employees feel able to express their unique perspective without fear of negative consequences, it is the linchpin of inclusion. With this in place, organisations can then get down to focusing on the personal and organisational aspects of inclusion: belongingness, authenticity and uniqueness, participation and fairness, and the additional element of diversity to prevent the creation of an echo chamber.
Inclusive leadership - a key driver for creating such an environment, it involves a nuanced leadership style that includes humble listening and a willingness to advocate for the underrepresented, so that it can reflect shifts in society and balance the personal and organisational components of inclusion.
Visibility - where all employees can be noticed and included, especially those who may be made less visible by intersectional traits (e.g. being of a race and gender that are both systemically under-represented).
These principles of workplace inclusion are the foundations of a recently released inclusion model developed by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), based on a research project sponsored by Philip Morris International.
The research flagged out three key areas where organisations need to keep focusing on inclusion, which have been made increasingly apparent by broader social trends including #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, and the impact of COVID-19: gender imbalance, racial inequity, and socioeconomic inequality.
Alongside IMD's research, PMI also released the findings of an in-house survey that underscored a pressing business case for inclusion: the impact on employee engagement and retention. PMI's survey found that 85% of respondents are more motivated if they feel included at work, while 73% are more likely to stay at their current job. However, 51% reported feeling excluded at either their present or current workplace and 27% said they do not feel safe or comfortable speaking up on inclusion, with the number increasing to 36% for non-management employees - suggesting that a considerable proportion of employees are affected morale-wise and motivation-wise, and may have an additional reason to change jobs.