Inclusion is arguably one of the most important issues facing businesses today. Feeling part of the team and having a sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself is considered an essential part of a healthy work-life. 

When a team member does not feel like their contribution or voice matters, they become disengaged and withdraw from the rest of the team. This leads to lower morale and higher turnover which does not enable a business to thrive. 

Here’s how you, as a business owner, can make a difference and raise the standards for more inclusive business practices, and why it matters.

Inclusive cultures may help fight against burnout

One study found that mattering (or being important to the team you’re working with) was one potential protection layer against burnout. Mattering is an integral component to building an inclusive culture, in conjunction with other important factors, like boosting team morale, creating strong support systems, and collaboration with open communication. It’s one thing for all team members to be included in company activities, but it means much more for each member of the team to feel like they matter to the group. When these components combine, studies suggest stronger teams are formed and burnout is more likely to be avoided. 

When you lead with a culture of inclusion, others will follow.

Results speak for themselves, and studies have shown that inclusive cultures insight more loyalty, productivity, and initiative than higher-paying, less inclusive cultures. When helping an industry raise their standards in any area, it’s important to lead by example. Through proof of concept and competition for talent, other businesses in your industry are forced to follow your lead. Higher paychecks alone are no longer enough to keep or entice employees. Multiple surveys, polls, and studies found that an inclusive work culture is among the top concerns for employees, consistently beating out concerns for higher pay and higher-ranking titles.

Inclusion fuels fulfillment

People want to enjoy their work and contribute to a company that they believe in. Simply punching a timecard for a paycheck isn’t cutting it these days for the majority of employees. Instead, employees are seeking fulfillment through their work and have a strong desire for their efforts to make a difference. This is why inclusion is vital. If your employees feel like their contributions matter and are recognized, then you’re well on your way to creating an inclusive workplace.

To make sure your culture is setting the bar for inclusion-based fulfillment, regularly reach out to your employees. Listen to how they’re feeling and recognize their efforts regularly. Tell them what they’re doing that’s helping the organization reach its goals and find ways to help your employees strengthen their skills.

Setting procedural inclusivity

How your leadership team operates within the business is just as important as how the business itself operates. To make sure your leadership team is in alignment with your inclusivity procedures, you need to set clear hiring, performance, and promotion standards based on whether people are promoting an inclusive culture within the organization. This means your leadership team should not be hiring people who are replicas of themselves or only promoting the people that they feel closest to personally. Likewise, this means that your leadership team should be taking an active interest in all of your employees so that no one is left behind. When you ensure that all of your employees are given attention and mentorship, you create a foundation from which inclusivity can flourish.