Join me as I explore the process of integrating wellbeing and inclusion together to form carefully curated strategy, designed to support and embrace difference.
We had such a great discussion at the Working Well conference! I was joined by fellow panellists Grace and Tessa. Join me in reflection of our session as I explore the main points covered in our chat. When embarking on merging wellbeing and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, we want to be mindful to steer away from differentiation and create a dynamic multifaceted matrix which can be thread through and embedded in the foundations of broader organisational strategy. The points I feel we shared most passionately were quite simple.
Give it time. We need to invest time into knowing our workforces to then be able to empower them. Rapport and reflection are crucial. When we build rapport with our colleagues and our workforce and build good relationships, we build trust.
Respecting and valuing our individual differences, actively engaging and co-creating solution-based strategy results in inclusive growth. As this develops, we start to see that sweet spot of innovation emerging, when people feel like they can be their most authentic selves we see positive change – we can celebrate difference. When we utilise a holistic approach, the core principle of inclusive leadership, we recognise what it takes to support and enable our entire workforce to thrive.
Learning and developing the skillset of inclusive leadership is an evolving process – it can help to get external consultation, coaching and training to enable impartial assessment and strategic support. External guidance can help avoid diving in to building a list of initiatives, and often favours a change management process of embedding wellbeing and inclusive processes into core strategy.
We also need to be mindful that there is a wellbeing dept, as Tessa positioned it, for people who have been and continue to be disadvantaged through highly prevalent systemic issues, historically ignored, and negatively associated – so we do have to take it slow and recognise the need to heal – this can be a painful and traumatic process. This highlights the need for psychological safety around these conversations. We need to be mindful of how we shape and sustain these relationships to build trust, rapport, and openness over time.
Transparent communication with your workforce and other stakeholders can be vital to support engagement, commitment, and willingness to change. Being clear about the what, the why and the how is crucial.
The difficulties facing HR when embedding inclusion into core strategy is a misconception of ownership and accountability. HR may instigate movement in the EDI space, but they are not the sole caretakers. For strategic change to be successful, every person in the organisation needs to recognise their role and responsibility, it requires everyone to step up.
Thanks again to Working Well Conference and everyone involved for inviting us to speak together.