Defining and measuring ‘inclusion’ within an organisation

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Helpdesk Query:

What is considered best practice for both defining and measuring ‘inclusion’ within an organisation?


Inclusion involves utilising difference to benefit the organisation (ENEI 2017). Inclusion embraces the concepts of awareness, acceptance, respect and understanding. Inclusion is defined by equal opportunity to for participation. Each individual must be valued for his or her distinctive skills, experiences and perspectives. Inclusion is also about creating a global community (Diversity Best Practices 2009).

Inclusion within organisations involves fostering an environment that allows people with different backgrounds, characteristics, and ways of thinking, to work effectively together and fulfil their potential. To achieve an inclusive culture, people must feel valued, listened to and respected (Wallace and Pillans 2016). Inclusiveness is an environment that maximises the diversity of all employees (Janakiraman 2011). Inclusion involves organisational practices that ensure that the backgrounds of different groups or individuals are culturally and socially accepted, welcomed and equally treated.

For individuals within an organisation, inclusion is a sense of belonging based on respect and being valued (GDP 2017). Inclusion for organisations is driven from grass roots, but steered from the top (ENEI 2017). Inclusive leaders must challenge biases, whilst being aware of their own unconscious biases. They must take responsibility for inclusion and hold all employees accountable for inclusion in the workplace (ENEI 2017). For inclusion to work, organisations must create an atmosphere that espouses supportive energy and commitment. Individuals must be engaged and valued (GDP 2017).

Organisational inclusion can fluctuate due to changes in priorities and focuses. Inclusive organisations must continue to push for continuous improvement (ENEI 2017). Inclusion involves the continuous search for value and full, effective utilisation of the richness of diversity among stakeholders (Diversity Best Practices 2009). Inclusion involves getting diversity to work for positive outcomes (GDP 2017). Inclusion is the lever that leads to change (Janakiraman 2011). In this context, diversity is the mix of individuals (Janakiraman 2011, GDP 2017).

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