You are currently viewing Inclusion in the Workplace and Its Impact on Mental Health

Inclusion in the Workplace and Its Impact on Mental Health

  • Post category:News

Being inclusive is a critical aspect as more organizations embrace diversity. When you employ people coming from different backgrounds, tensions may arise leading to mental health issues. Hence, fostering an inclusive workplace helps protect employees’ wellbeing. But what does it mean to be a more inclusive organization?

What Does Inclusion Mean in the Workplace?

In a general sense, inclusion means recognizing and respecting the differences of individuals in a society. The same can be applied to inclusion in the workplace. An inclusive workplace cultivates a welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Regardless of one’s gender, race, ethnicity, beliefs, and any other characteristics, they have the same opportunity to thrive within the organization.

Incorporating inclusion in the workplace requires participation from employees. This can be done by conducting training to educate and encourage employees to be more considerate. An inclusive workplace is also possible by coming up with an inclusion council responsible for organizing activities that will help promote inclusion within an organization. Inclusion in the workplace can only happen when everyone, from the leaders to the staff, cooperates and embraces the culture.

How Inclusion Addresses Mental Health

Reduces Stigma

Around 75% of employers who participated in a McKinsey study acknowledge that stigma persists in the workplace. Stigma can come in many forms. It affects workers’ mental health when they experience harassment, bullying, and other forms of discrimination. They may feel uncomfortable working in an organization that doesn’t respect the differences and struggles of their employees, including mental health problems. This is why it’s important to have an inclusive workplace. To help reduce any form of stigma and enable better understanding of individuals’ differences.

Increased Psychological Safety

An inclusive work environment is one where employees feel comfortable being themselves, expressing their concerns, and seeking support when needed. Employees are not afraid to speak up for their rights or address any issues they may experience inside the workplace. This poses a challenge, especially for those coming from a marginalized group within a business organization. A Catalyst survey found that 1 in 5 female business leaders feel overlooked or ignored during a video call. This can be addressed by encouraging open communications where coworkers empathize with each other’s concerns. It helps build the trust and confidence of employees and makes them feel safe within the organization.

Enhanced Well-Being

Incorporating inclusion in the workplace can lead to overall well-being, including improving employees’ mental health. Employees working in a more inclusive space have better moods and are more productive. This is because they are seen and valued in their organization. Did you know that untreated depression can cost $9,450 per employee when they are absent or have diminished productivity? It makes financial sense to address mental health issues by making employees from disadvantaged profiles feel included. Initiatives like providing counseling services, flexible work arrangements, and promoting work-life balance help support employees’ wellbeing.

Diverse Perspectives and Creativity

The link between inclusion and innovation leads to greater success for organizations. Different mindsets breed more innovative ideas. Employees are more likely to contribute creatively, share problem-solving skills, and be inspired when they feel included and empowered. This is because, despite their differences, they can feel how the organization values their input. It doesn’t matter what gender or race they belong to – their ideas count and are taken into consideration all the same. That’s how successful organizations manage diverse talent, by successfully incorporating an inclusive culture.

Building an Inclusive Environment

1. Open Communication

From understanding the differences between one another or supporting mental health struggles, these difficult topics have to be openly discussed within an organization. It is how a workplace can be more inclusive. Communicate openly about what makes an employee’s racial or gender profile different and why a certain coworker behaves in such a way. Educate the leaders in your organization about how they can make their subordinates foster an inclusive work environment through open communication.

2. Conduct a Survey

Listen to employees about what they feel about your organization. This can be done through a survey that will ask them engaging questions. Do they feel that their thoughts are heard? Or do employees feel that they are an outcast? These input and thoughts from your employees provide you with a picture of what to improve towards making your workplace more inclusive.

3. Incorporate Mental Health Benefits

Mental health care is also one way to provide a more inclusive working environment. It means that you care for the welfare of your employees. Mental health benefits, such as counseling, medical support, or flexible work arrangements, make employees feel valued and their needs are acknowledged.

4. Review Workplace Policies

Another is by checking your workplace policies. Is there any policy that seems discriminatory towards one gender or group? Check if any workplace policies go against becoming an inclusive organization. Also, it helps to adjust your work activities to accommodate the needs of other workers. Things like rotating meeting schedules for those working in another time zone can help foster an inclusive working space.

5. Celebrate Differences

Employees can feel that they’re in an inclusive workplace through team-building activities. This helps them understand and have a better feeling that the company values them. Cultural diversity can be celebrated in many ways. Among them is recognizing their holidays or respecting their tradition in a workplace setting.

Building an inclusive workplace benefits everyone: from the employees to the stakeholders of an organization. When you have inclusion, you foster a warm and hospitable culture. It diminishes stigma and mental health struggles among employees. Instead, the camaraderie brought about by the value and respect for each other’s differences unifies everyone within an organization.

Author: mplsneca