Workplace wellbeing initiatives often overlook the importance of prioritising diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) at work. In the UK, only 19.7% of employees on company or organisational boards are women, and ethnic minority employees hold only 1 in 16 top management positions in the UK. Even our very own ART data shows that, across our projects, men report better mood scores than women when it comes to happiness and stress levels within their roles.
How Workplace Culture Impacts Wellbeing
The mental health of employees is closely connected to their experiences of inclusivity and diversity within the workplace. When employees find themselves in an environment where they feel excluded from their colleagues due to factors such as gender, race, or ethnicity, their personal and professional lives suffer immensely.
According to a recent UK survey, 57% of employees had witnessed discrimination or a lack of inclusivity whilst at work, and 73% of those employees discriminated against say that the company did not deal with it. When considering how closely linked mental and physical wellbeing is to feeling valued, safe and included within the workplace, it’s no wonder that women and minorities tend to experience ill health and unemployment more than other demographics.
Adding to the problem is the gap between top executives and what employees actually go through. A study by Accenture, with around 1,700 senior leaders and 30,300 employees, revealed a “perception divide” between the executives and the workforce. The higher-ups thought that a whopping 98% of employees felt included at work, while only 80% of employees themselves said they felt that way. This gap in perception could decrease employee retention rates and bump up the odds of absenteeism.
Building An Inclusive Work Environment
While numerous companies are progressing toward more inclusive and diverse staff, there’s still a long way to go. Wondering what you can do for your team to ensure that DE&I staff thrive within the company? Taking a holistic approach to workplace wellbeing is the way to go. From employing inclusive recruitment strategies to providing safe spaces for employees to using adequate training systems that combat discrimination – making a concentrated, team-wide effort is critical.
Just tweaking a few things in your employee support programs won’t cut it if you want to boost workplace wellbeing and inclusivity in a way that counts. What we should all be working towards is taking a thoughtful approach to mould workplace attitudes and behaviours, resulting in a meaningful shift in the culture. By tackling the broader issues that affect marginalised employees, organisations can dial down their dependence on individual support measures.
Ultimately, promoting diversity in the workplace involves fostering an inclusive atmosphere that embraces the unique qualities of each individual. This not only empowers all employees to unlock their full potential but also maximises your team’s overall potential. By appreciating and valuing the differences in each person, we enable them to share their distinctive experiences, which can greatly enhance work dynamics, boost employee wellbeing and productivity, and improve the customer experience.