Break the stigma and ensure that your employee pool includes LGBTQ+ individuals and people with mental health issues
Take a moment to introspect. Yes, you are making strides in your diversity and inclusion policy. But does it also mean that your policies welcome employees with mental health issues and LGBTQ+ identities?
When you talk about inclusion and diversity in the workplace, you are actually talking about a workplace that is a natural reflection of the diversity we encounter in society. The need to focus on the inclusion of individuals with mental health issues and LGBTQ+ identities is on the rise today because of their increasing prevalence. According to a WHO report 15% of working-age adults were estimated to have a mental disorder in 2019. These numbers would have increased in the present day. It is also crucial to recognise that mental health and LGBTQ+ identities intersect, leading to unique challenges for LGBTQ+ individuals.
Inclusive workplaces that embrace individuals with mental health challenges and LGBTQ+ identities are better placed to thrive. Let’s delve into how organisations benefit from inclusive policies.
Inclusive workplaces promote a sense of belonging and psychological safety. Employees who feel comfortable being themselves at work tend to be more engaged and productive. A recent report by McKinsey and Company proves this point statistically. As per this report, companies positioned in the highest quartile for gender diversity within their executive teams demonstrated a 25% higher likelihood of achieving profitability levels that exceeded the industry average compared to those in the lowest quartile.
Improved mental health and well-being of employees
In today's fast-paced, often high-pressure work environments, stress and burnout are common. An inclusive workplace allows employees to embrace their true selves. This reduces stress and improves mental well being.
Enhanced creativity and innovation in diverse teams
A diverse workforce brings together individuals with various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Different viewpoints encourage out-of-the-box thinking, which is essential for staying competitive in today's dynamic business. As per McKinsey and Company, studies conducted in Latin America have indicated that organisations dedicated to diversity are 75% more likely to observe a culture that promotes effective teamwork.
Attraction and retention of top talent
Talented individuals often seek workplaces where they feel respected and valued regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. Inclusive workplaces are more likely to attract a broader pool of applicants. They are also more likely to stay with the company long term, reducing employee turnover and its associated costs.
Positive impact on the company's reputation and brand
As diversity and inclusion take centre stage, your policies will positively impact your reputation with your customers and partners, making you a trusted brand.
There are many ways in which you can build a positive workplace that is inclusive. Here are a few pointers in this direction.
Give them a voice Discussions on mental health issues and LGBTQ+ identities are often taboo. Open the doors and allow employees from these marginalised sections to hold up their heads through open dialogues about the importance of mental health and LGBTQ+ inclusion.
Build a foundation with knowledge Start with diversity and inclusion training for all employees. These training sessions could be organised at regular intervals. Conduct workshops on mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ issues.
Put it in black and white If it’s not in your policies and procedures it does not have arms and legs. Develop anti-discrimination policies and create flexible work arrangements to accommodate mental health needs.
Find your ambassadors Form employee resource groups (ERGs) for mental health issues and LGBTQ+ support.
Celebrate! Conduct Pride Month celebrations and mental health awareness campaigns
The importance of diversity, inclusion, mental health support, and LGBTQ+ identities in the workplace cannot be overstated. These elements not only foster innovation, attract top talent, and enhance customer relationships but also create a healthier, more productive, and ethically sound work environment. Businesses that embrace these marginalised talent pools are better positioned to thrive in the coming days.
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