Updated: Feb 18
Diversity and inclusion is important to employee wellness. Diversity and inclusion has typically had a focus on talent acquisition and team building.
It is often not, considered as a measure, within wellness programmes and frameworks in organisations. How can embracing diversity, as part of employee wellness initiatives, result in actions to build inclusiveness?
Creating opportunities to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, adds value to a range of programs and initiatives to develop and support employees.
A key indicator of workplace wellness, is the ability for people of all backgrounds to be able to see themselves reflected, nurtured and supported.
A true sense of belonging, is a necessary element of wellness, and assists employees to engage and build team cohesion, within the workplace.
It adds to the sense authenticity and the fosters a 'community' spirit within the workplace that helps to drive inclusion across all areas.
The key objective of managing workplace diversity, through wellness activities, is to plan and implement a beneficial organisational programme. Wellness programmes and activities, will enhance support for employees and take advantage of the benefits of diversity and inclusion.
Diversity management is a powerful tool for stress reduction in the workplace, and should be a key consideration in wellness programmes offered by companies.
It focuses the organisation to maximise the ability to take advantage of an inclusive space, and enables employees to contribute towards organisational objectives. Wellness is a key activity within this area.
Focusing on inclusion in wellness interventions
Stress impacts employee health and the ability to work productively. This impacts both the individual and the organisational ability to achieve best in class results.
It lowers morale, increases absenteeism, has a negative impact on engagement and ultimately reduces the ability for an organisation to focus on realising objectives.
Managers must realise the importance of diversity and inclusion within the paradigm of wellness.
Alleviating stress in the workplace, caused by a lack of diversity and inclusion is key to improving wellness.
Employees typically spend more hours per week within the workplace environment that they do with their own families and friends.
A lack of inclusion within the workplace impacts all other areas of life. Identifying stress caused by a lack of inclusion is a must if organisations are to truly embrace and embed diversity and inclusion.
It helps to identify and measure a source of stress that is generally overlooked and measure its consequences.
Stress and workplace inclusion.
Workplace stressors are different for all employees. Stress caused by the physical environment is often a stress indicator for many employees with physical and mental disabilities in the workplace.
Peer group and situational stressors can be a major source of conflict and stress for employees with under-represented racial and cultural backgrounds.
These stressors can present as a real challenge for employees, adding to trauma and stress related absence.
This kind of stress that makes it difficult for organisations to retain staff.
Organisationally, poor policies, homogeneous leadership and lack of empathy results in the systemic inability to foster inclusion. It makes it difficult if not impossible, to create engaged workplaces, that value and support the diversity of employees.
Integrating diversity and inclusion into wellness programmes, helps to increase engagement and supports effective team building activities.
It helps to emphasise and promote employee health, whilst boosting morale increasing performance levels, and enhances the quality of decision making.
To be effective, wellness programs must be designed to promote inclusiveness.
Wellness programs benefit from input from diversity network and other employee resource groups.
These groups can support leaders and managers to identify topics that will support a wider range of employee needs, within the wellness space.
Input from diverse groups will also develop organisational ability to be culturally supportive in its approach, and meet the unique needs of a wide range of employees.
By embedding diversity and inclusion into wellness programmes, organisations can increase enthusiasm for D&I, whilst supporting an overall agenda for developing activities to support employees.
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Kenroi Consulting offers services to embed diversity and inclusion into Corporate Wellness and Resilience. Learn more about our services in this area.
Learn More: Wellness programmes are useful for promoting diversity and inclusion. Learn how re-framing organisational culture can support diversity and inclusion at a whole organisation level..
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