How to successfully re-engage the workforce in inclusion

How to successfully re-engage the workforce in inclusion

Despite a growing demand for inclusion in the workplace, many employees still need to be more engaged in discussing I&D topics.

There are numerous reasons behind disengagement, and this blog briefly examines the causes whilst touching on a few helpful strategies to address the overwhelming need to re-engage.

Disengagement with inclusion

Disengaging from the inclusion agenda can be displayed by anyone within the organisation. There is a perception that this could apply to those not a minority (for example, straight, white males). However, disengagement can be displayed by any colleague.

Underrepresented and minority groups can also become disengaged due to a lack of action. 

Some reasons why a colleague may become disengaged with inclusion include:

  • Not included 
  • Defensiveness 
  • Lack of time 
  • Lack of seeing any change 
  • Remote working 
  • Global workforce 
  • Misalignment of expectations 

Engaging the different levels of staff with inclusion

The various levels of the organisation have different reasons and approaches to engagement. The various levels include:

  • Board members
  • Leadership and senior management
  • Middle management
  • All employees
  • External stakeholders

Why does each level require a different approach?

Each individual and group has a different level of accountability, responsibility and skill set to drive the inclusion agenda. 

Strategies to engage various individuals can include:

  • Deliver training to the board to highlight the business case for inclusion and diversity and explain the impacts of not engaging in the conversation.
  • Create a sponsorship role for I&D. This person can act as a champion in senior leadership meetings and act as an ally for other groups in spaces where they may not have a voice. They can also report to the board-level sponsor to feedback on inclusion work.
  • Embed inclusion themes through internal and external communications.
  •  Support managers to enable staff to attend training, inclusion initiatives, and staff networks. This could include support covering a role if a team member or team manager requires time out to attend training. 
  • Lead by example – having board/executives and senior leadership place I&D at the centre of their work will filter through to management at all levels. 
  •  Offer rewards for participating in inclusion activities such as compensation for being a chair of a staff network, vouchers for being on a panel, or thank you e-cards for sharing lived experiences.
  • Encourage staff voice through networks, activities, and surveys. 
  • Networking events to help share best practices and initiatives
  • Procurement procedures to include I&D consideration

Re-engaging employees with inclusion

There can be many reasons an employee may choose to engage/disengage with inclusion in the workplace. It could be very dependent on not only personal factors such as the employee’s characteristics and lived experiences but also how they are feeling mentally and emotionally, which could be influenced by external factors such as the social and political landscape.

 The following touchpoints need to be evaluated and used to foster engagement in Inclusion conversations and activities. 

  • Communications
  • Transparency  
  • Employee voice  
  • Calling out vs Calling in  
  • Allyship 

How Inclusive Employers can help foster an engaged workforce

For a comprehensive, in-depth look at why and how to re-engage the workforce with detailed examples of strategies and approaches to adopt, please look at our member’s resource – Engaging colleagues in inclusion.

If you are a member, have a conversation with your account manager about developing skills and strategies to create engaged colleagues. 

For non-members, please get in touch with us on how we can best support your organisation today.