How Does Inclusion Improve Employee Engagement?
In our Part 1 blog post, Measuring Inclusion to Improve Diversity, we noted that a Gallup study found that employees in an inclusive environment are more engaged, demonstrate higher advocacy for their organizations, and have a greater intent to stay. That same study found with respect to race, in particular, engaged employees are much less likely to leave their organization regardless of race. However, Actively disengaged employees were much more likely overall to express intent to leave, but there were differences based on race. Thirty-six percent of actively disengaged employees with a manager of the same race intended to leave their organization, while 48% of the actively disengaged employees with a manager of a different race intended to leave their organization. There is a huge difference in how disengaged employees feel and behave by race. This is important if companies seek to retain people of color.
An additional report from Fortune on Why Fortune’s 100 Best Companies To Work For Are Beating Out The Competition shares some revealing statistics about diversity, equity and inclusion – including a higher composition of minorities and women.
Value of engaged employees
While engagement is on the rise in the US, it is only at 34% according to Gallup. Actively disengaged employees are at an all-time low of 13%. But here is the real problem, the remaining 53% of employees are in the not engaged category. These people do their job but don’t put in maximum effort. These folks do not use their discretionary energy to make a good product great. They are considered solid workers but these workers do not feel connected to the organization in a way beyond a paycheck and benefits.
Companies have come to understand the value of engaged employees and routinely measure engagement. These companies know that they can be better and part of that is embedded in how employees feel about their work team and overall organization. And if you haven’t made the connection yet, feeling included is a very important part of the equation – especially for your diverse employees as noted above. The example provided above used race as a factor but feel free to insert other dimensions like gender, age, and sexual orientation. Inclusion matters.
Measuring engagement and measuring inclusion
So, what is a company to do? Move beyond simply measuring engagement to also measuring inclusion. Is your company inclusive? The eye test – what I see – will not cut it in this environment. The “I feel like” test – what I experience will also not cut it. Companies must put real rigor to measuring inclusion. It is the difference between being good and being great. Engagement is directly linked to inclusiveness. Gallup found that employees who did not feel included were more likely to be actively disengaged or not engaged at all.
Why put all these resources into attracting employees and not understand what they are experiencing? You wouldn’t do that for your customers. You would want to know as much about them as possible to be able to service them better. Well, your employees are your customers’ and clients’ first and sometimes only connection to your company. Their enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile will enhance the customer experience. Additionally, an inclusive environment is contagious –teams work together better, individuals bring more of themselves to the work and the company becomes known for valuing and engaging all of their employees, becoming a desired place to work. Measuring inclusion is critical to maximizing your diversity and your performance.
Don’t know where to start or how to measure inclusion? Join us for “More Than A Feeling: How Measuring Inclusion Improves Organizations” on Thursday, February 27th from 11:00 am to Noon CDT, for an open conversation about elevating diversity through measuring inclusion.