We all know that feeling of being left out, bullied, embarrassed or far worse. For some it ended in childhood, but for others it continues into adulthood. It’s reported even bullies tend to be picked on by someone, thus learning the behavior they use to torment others in return. So, if most individuals in society have felt picked-on for one reason or another (their clothes, socio-economic status, skin color, sexual identity, name, religion, immigration status, the list really goes on and on), you’d think being inclusive would become a priority as we mature and “know better.” Yet, we face many situations where inclusivity is elusive. It shouldn’t be, especially in our work environments, where an inclusive culture leads to diversity, creativity and innovation!
Inclusion at Work; A Story of Apples and Oranges
There is a history of successful corporations recognizing the value of inclusion. Many state so on their websites and hiring pages. For instance, Apple highlights the statement “We’re not all the same and that’s a strength.” Coca-Cola says, “We are smart alone, but genius together.” Apple and Coca-Cola know the best talent out there value an inclusive work space.
Forbes published an article showing the direct path from inclusivity to diversity. In fact, the author posits that without inclusivity, diversity plummets. After all, why would you want to be an orange in a barrel full of apples who constantly remind you that you’re different, not as easy to eat and your experience as an orange is not valued? If the apples are inclusive and ask the orange its opinion, value its experience and include it in new recipes that enhance the overall flavor of the barrel more oranges will feel accepted. Maybe even a couple bananas, an avocado and a mango will then join in and suddenly the barrel is a full out fruit aisle of diversity! Who likes a fruit salad with just apples, anyway?
Join the Movement to Include
Inclusivity at work can create higher morale, job satisfaction and efficiency, but what about the rest of life? Obviously, it’s important to feel included in daily outside-of-work activities too. Special Olympics launched a five year campaign called “The Revolution is Inclusion.” They recently celebrated the global week of inclusion by highlighting individuals and companies that champion inclusion policies and behaviors.
Special Olympics published five reasons why inclusion is important to all of us in our society, especially in light of publicity surrounding social justice recently. In short, here are the bullet points.
- Inclusion fuels acceptance
- It cultivates empathy
- Allows for positive self-image development
- Drives Meaningful Change
- Makes us see the person first, not the differences
If these reasons speak to you, they encourage you to sign their Inclusion Pledge and pass it on to others in your life too!
Be Inclusive, it’s the “In” Thing to Do!
Whether in personal or work life, inclusivity ultimately leads to better policies, results, culture and ideas. We’ve heard it since we were kids – play together nicely, invite all the kids to the party; and we need reminding as adults too. Here’s your reminder.