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Diversity and inclusion the key to staff engagement

1 December 20140 comments

Diversity_237x219A new study on the relationship between diversity and inclusion on workplace engagement at sportswear company Nike has found highly diverse teams are 13 times more likely to be engaged than the least diverse teams.

The study, by global culture management company RoundPegg, survey more than 550 employees and found that with every 10 per cent increase in diversity there was a 6 per cent increase in engagement.

Inclusion has an even greater effect on engagement, the study found.

RoundPegg researcher Brent Daily said people were able to contribute more and had a desire to do so when able to be themselves in the workplace.

“When we are comfortable throwing out thoughts and ideas without having to filter them prior we are more creative and productive,” he said.

“Feeling included as a member of a team is one of the most critical element to engagement. This is not only borne out from the research here, but by decades of study looking at how well people fit their environment.

“The quantitative results show when people share common values with their manager, teammates and with the company they are far more engaged, perform better and stay longer.

“The magnitude of the importance of inclusion is highlighted when reviewing the likelihood one is highly engaged when on a highly inclusive team versus one in the bottom quartile of inclusiveness – 82 times  more likely to be highly engaged.

“And more than twice as likely to be engaged versus those teams who are moderately inclusive” Mr Daily said.

He said the takeaway notion from this was is simple: “seek greater diversity in teams, and work to engender a spirit of inclusiveness. The result can be a doubling of engagement on average”.

But he warned that increasing diversity without inclusion is retrograde and that engagement levels fell without inclusion.

A Nike spokesperson said the company recognised diversity was a key element of growth for the company.

“Nike is a growth company and the key to that growth is innovation. To continually innovate, you must have employees who are engaged and contributing a diversity of perspectives.

“We know that without engagement you get marginal improvements. With it comes exponential improvements and that’s why we needed to understand the relationship of diversity and inclusion to better business outcomes.

“We’d always known diversity and inclusion were important but were amazed at the level each affected a team’s engagement. The most inclusive teams were 82 times more likely to be engaged than the least inclusive teams.

“One thing we didn’t expect to find was that the positive effects of diversity were entirely mitigated without inclusion. In hindsight it may seem obvious, but it poignantly highlighted the role a manager must play to walk the line extracting differing points of view and making everyone feel their ideas are invited, welcomed and heard — even if their idea is not the ultimate outcome,” the spokesperson said.

Helen Matovu-Reed
AMES Staff Writer