Focus on having an inclusive workforce on World Disability Day

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Sheatwork centres on inclusiveness at the workplace on 3 December – World Day of the Handicapped, International Day of persons with Disabilities.

First and foremost, all employees are valued for their strengths in an inclusive workplace. It offers employees – whether they are ‘coloured’ or disabled – an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, to be compensated fairly, and to advance in their professional lives. If you look at it, genuine inclusion is about embracing difference.

So, International Day of Persons with Disabilities was established by UNESCO on December 3. This year the theme is: “Building back better: towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world by, for and with persons with disabilities”.

Tracing back, the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons was added in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly. The aim was to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. At the same time, it also sought to increase awareness about the advantage that can be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

The power of inclusion

The power of inclusion in the workplace is immense. According to Deloitte’s article on diversity and inclusion, it points out that, “A growing body of research indicates that diverse and inclusive teams outperform their peers. Companies with inclusive talent practices in hiring, promotion, development, leadership, and team management generate up to 30 percent higher revenue per employee and greater profitability than their competitors. Without a strong culture of inclusion and flexibility, the team-centric model comprising diverse individuals may not perform well.”

Interestingly, in 2020 and even beyond, inclusion in the workplace will continue to be a vital component. Organizations have to be inclusive, so that diversity programs and initiatives can be successful. Diversity does not exist without inclusion. When employees feel included, they feel a sense of belonging that leads to more productivity – increased positive performance results and creates collaborative teams who are innovative and engaging. When employees feel included, they are more likely to be positively engaged within the organization. All of which can work wonders for businesses. Higher employee engagement drives higher levels of productivity, retention, and an organization’s overall success.

Connecting inclusion to employee engagement

The importance of diversity and inclusive workplaces boosts employee engagement. Since employee engagement is a strategic business imperative, it only makes sense to include diversity and inclusion in the overall structure. So, one can confidently say that not only is employee engagement and diversity critical, but so is inclusion in every way.  If businesses, even small, are trying to drive successful talent, they must embrace and encourage engagement.

Inclusive practices not only support people with disabilities. Inclusion creates a more accepting and supportive workplace for all employees. Employers with strong disability inclusion programs can expect higher engagement from all employees.

So, it is imperative that businesses need to build an inclusive environment. Looking at the plus points, inclusion in the workplace is vital not only today, but will continue to be an ever-present ideology in the years to come. Ultimately, having an engaged inclusive team can only pave the way for companies to forge ahead.

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