Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Diversity, Inclusion and Employee Engagement Part I

Diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement--what do all three of these initiatives have in common? People. More specifically, the extent to which the inherent differences people bring to the workplace are embraced in such a way that employees experience inclusion and full engagement in their work. Studies by the Gallup Management Journal indicate that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs.
Diversity is a an inclusive environment wherein differences—human, cultural, and systems—are leveraged as a competitive business advantage in order to:

• provide exceptional customer service
• ensure the physical, mental, and spiritual well-being of employees
• achieve exceptional workplace and business performance
• deliver the highest quality products and services
Inclusion is an environment where there is “equity of opportunity” for personal and organizational success, as well as pride in the organization.
Employee Engagement is a level of “employee commitment” to the organization that ultimately results in greater discretionary effort in his or her work—beyond the expected or compensated level of performance.
The Roles of Leadership/Management and Employees
All three of the initiatives cited above have two dimensions: The Role of Leadership/ Management and The Role of Employees.

1) The Role of Leadership/Management

• Create an environment of integrity and trust.
• Provide employees with career and growth opportunities.
• Establish an environment where employees take pride in the organization
and communicate that pride to others.
• Provide opportunities for personal and professional development.
• Establish quality interpersonal relationships, communication, and
problem resolution.
• Create an environment for work-life quality, balance, and integration.

2) The Role of Employees

• Request, ensure, and design engaging work that is personally
• Ensure that your work is aligned with the organization’s or business
unit’s goals and objectives.
• Assume a natural leadership role among peers as greater delegation
occurs (Leadership is the ability to influence others).
• Design a career development plan inclusive of the experiences and
learning you will require.
• Establish quality interpersonal relationships, communication, and
collaboration among your peers.
• Define and create a plan for work-life quality and balance.

The role of leadership/management is to proactively provide an inclusive environment and management practices that support the development, learning, and well-being of employees. An inclusive environment is an organizational context where all employees experience being wanted, appreciated, and valued.

1. Wanted for their diverse membership as part of the organization.
2. Appreciated for the unique contribution they make in creating the culture of the organization.
3. Valued for the unique perspective they bring in terms of creativity, innovation, and high-performance.
It’s also an environment where an employee feels commitment and passion for their work, beyond the expected or compensated level of performance.

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