What makes people feel included in organizations? Is it the feeling that they are treated fairly and respectfully, are valued and belong? It’s many things of course, including an organization’s mission, policies, and practices, as well as co-workers’ behaviors. But mostly it comes down to leaders within the organization. What leaders say and do makes up to a 70% difference as to whether an individual reports he or she feels included. The more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collaborate with everyone, which ultimately boosts organizational performance.
Project Inclusion is not only diversity of gender and ethnicity. One can define diversity as visible and invisible differences, thinking and leadership styles, religious background, sexual orientation, age, experience, and culture. Many employers focus on attracting a diverse group of employees, but then struggle with retaining the right talent.
“Organizations with a highly diverse workforce that do not pay attention to an inclusive environment are likely to be more dysfunctional than those without a diverse staff,” said Gerry Handy, JMC Equal Employment Opportunity specialist. Research suggests that one can find the answer not so much in policies and procedures, but in the mindset of leaders creating an inclusive culture.
While often used interchangeably, equity and equality mean different things and lead to different results. When we treat everyone equally, we treat everyone the same, but when we treat everyone equitably, we focus on individual needs. In a diverse workplace, differences exist, and people require support in different ways. Equity asks us to acknowledge that everyone has different needs, experiences, and opportunities.
People from marginalized groups often have more barriers to overcome when accessing resources and opportunities than those from dominant or more privileged groups. According to Handy, “in a diverse organization, equity-inspired design identifies barriers and inequities and helps to elevate the people on the margins to an equal playing field.
With the onset of mid-winter it is critical for us to be mindful of our coworkers’ behaviors, norms, and abnormalities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and everyday stressors, we must all watch out for coworkers to ensure that if we see something, we say something. Suicides and sexual-harassment are preventable, but it takes EVERYONE. Supervisors and coworkers must be willing to engage in order to eliminate suicide, harassment and sexual assault from our Army. There are many resources available to individuals that may be feeling excluded or stressed out. The Employee Assistance Program, the Chaplain, IG, EEO, SHARP, and their coworkers and supervisors can all assist in a crucial time of need.
We want an inclusive workforce of current and future talent to grow with our ever- changing world. The JMC leadership is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce environment where all employees are valued and included in our critical mission and readiness to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” said JMC Commander, Col. Gavin Gardner.