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Having a diverse and inclusive organisation reaps benefits, according to the Why Diversity Matters Report by McKinsey, those organisations who are in the top quartile for gender, racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to see financial returns above their national industry average; they are able to win top talent, improve customer orientation, employee satisfaction, engagement and decision making.  

Likewise, those organisations who are adopting an inclusive change management approach to deliver transformation are more likely to achieve better business outcomes with faster benefit realisation, higher-performing and engaged teams and a quicker, more agile way of delivering transformation.  IBM research into making change stick identifies the most significant challenges when implementing change are people orientated, with changing mindsets, attitude and corporate culture topping the list. Add this to our increasingly digital savvy, open-minded and self-expressive diverse workforce, potentially leads to two further challenges.

  1. Our teams no longer appreciate change being done to them. They are looking to the organisation to be included; and whilst they turn to their leadership for strategic direction, they want to be involved in how they get there; and
  2. Our diverse workforce encompasses different ages, genders and cultures meaning changing mindsets and attitudes when delivering transformation requires deeper understanding and action.
Can change succeed in an organisation that isn’t inclusive and willing to hear opinions and views from all parts of the business?

Inclusive change management provides a solution to these wider challenges – the concept of inclusive change is that change is done by them, not to them and an inclusive change management approach proactively seeks input from the diverse population of an organisation, in order to capture different mindsets, opinions and attitudes on what is changing – not only to build trust and support and to gain insights and ideas that may be useful but also because it’s ethical and fair.

When employees are not included or involved in change they feel that their ideas or opinions do not matter and they can experience a sense of rejection and isolation.  I have been in organisations where employees won’t raise concerns or propose alternative solutions for fear of being branded as a resister or trouble-maker.  Not being inclusive, frequently results in negative impacts to productivity and engagement, and can cause an increase in absenteeism and employee turnover.   And whilst I believe these to be critical reasons I also raise the question, why would anyone or any organisation feels it is ok to create a culture of rejection and isolation?

By adopting an inclusive approach to change management means that change is being owned by the whole organisation and not just a few isolated people. It means that everyone is more interested in what is happening and actively seeks to pay their part in embedding change.  Inclusive change management ensures sustainability beyond the life of the change project thanks to involving the right people in it at the right time –  change becomes important to each individual as they take an active part in its development and embedding into the organisation.

An organisation is made up of tens, hundreds and even thousands of different people.  From the way we look to the way we act and behave.  Some of us are more task oriented, some more relationship focused, we will have contrasting opinions and attitudes, different skills and beliefs.  How we behave, how we act, even how we communicate will be slightly or greatly different.  And these differences have to be understood and accommodated during times of change; even a simple communication announcing a change has to be handled with highly attuned soft skills so that everyone is included and feels supported.

But an inclusive approach also…

  • enhances innovation by 20%,
  • enables risks to be identified earlier
  • reduces risks by up to 30%; and
  • means you’re 8 times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

And the best place to start is in collaboration.  When planning, designing and embedding change, engage, involve and colloborate with a wide cross section of the organisation – because a diverse team is greater than the sum of its parts.

To discuss an inclusive approach to change management or how to develop your own inclusive approach to change book a call with Becky here.