“We are all in this together” – but are we really?  After this great re-set, employees and customers are watching very closely to see what businesses and organisations are actually doing – actions, verbs, behaviours – to focus more on the employee experience, fostering a sense of belonging in a safe and positive way, where groups are accepted both culturally and socially and are treated equally.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) are almost always used together giving the impression that they mean the same thing, or can both be achieved by doing the same thing.  It is time that we make the case for splitting up this couple to drive home how different they are from each other.

Diversity does NOT equal Inclusion.  Diversity is numbers; a process, and it is very easy to measure and see.  It is not something that you do.  Inclusion, on the other hand, is a behaviour – it is not just a talk, it is the way things are done.  And like any other behaviour, it is much more difficult to measure.  Promoting diversity does not create a culture of Inclusion.  And every time we talk about D&I we are really just measuring diversity.

Inclusion is not just another good thing to have.  It is a demand that can no longer be ignored.  We cannot focus on the customer experience and ignore the employee experience.  The fact of the matter is that whatever goes on inside your organisation is what will be reflected to your customers.  Your employees will treat your clients only as well as they are being treated inside your organisation.  There is no separation.  If Inclusion fails internally, it will fail externally.

So, let’s take a closer look at Inclusion.  We know that it is a behaviour – or rather set of behaviours.  What are these behaviours and how do we measure them?  After years of research and mountains of data and case studies, the wonderful behavioural scientists at iPsychTec, filtered them down to 7 key behaviours – the absence or presence of which is an indicator of the level of Inclusion in any given organisation.  These 7 behaviours (using CultureScope speak) are:

  • Collective: am I welcome to the greater community? Is it equal to all irrespective of my gender, orientation, age, ethnicity, colour and so on?
  • Team Focus: am I invited to be a member of my team irrespective of all that?
  • Active Learning: is the organisation investing in all of us in the same way?
  • Conformity: do we all obey the rules and regulations the same way? And is the system fair to all of us or is it about relationships and status?
  • Achievement: is it about what I do every day? Am I as good as what I deliver irrespective of background, gender, colour, etc.?
  • Empower: are we all empowered the same way?
  • Expressive: are we all invited to express our opinion in the same way?

When we deployed CultureScope with this particular client, and measured how people observed what was happening around them (in other words the behaviour of the organisation and how they were being treated as employees) we were able to get a clear, scientific data based picture (not impressions or sentiments) of what was exactly happening, which also enabled us to do some predictive analysis as to where that organisation was heading. I am no scientist myself, but the numbers are overwhelming!

One of the questions that is frequently asked in most engagement surveys relates to how much an employee feels he/she are a valued member of the team.  Working with one particular client, we zoomed in even further and focused on only 3 out of the 7 behaviours I mention above as leading indicators for Inclusion.  We focused on Collective, Team Focus, and Conformity.  Using regression analysis, the figures showed that employees are 502 times more likely to answer yes to the statement “I feel I am a valued member of the team.”  And even when those three behaviours were sort of present but weak; employees were still 2.8 times more likely to answer yes to that statement!

No more guessing. No more not knowing exactly what you need to focus on.  No more trying to fix something that you couldn’t really see or measure.  This particular client now knows precisely which 3 specific behaviours they need to focus on in their organisation and how to do it.

Inclusivity is purely a behaviour.  A behaviour that drives the outcome: do I feel I belong or not.  This is about how you connect with your workforce and get the best out of them.  Inclusion is words with actions that bring tangible change.

Rana Nejem

About Rana Nejem

Rana is a certified iPsychTec (CultureScope, TeamScope & TalentScope) associate consultant that brings expertise in interpreting the generated insights for the purpose of targeted interventions, helping clients in the Middle East region align their staff behaviour and attitude with the organisation’s values and objectives. Using CultureScope to scientifically and empirically measure behaviour, Rana has provided decision makers with detailed and focused solutions to a variety of issues that have in turn transformed the culture within these organisations enabling them to attract and retain their ideal talent and achieve their key business objectives. Rana’s experience comes from a career in broadcast journalism, government communications and public relations. Rana is the founding director of YARNU, the Art of Social Intelligence – YARNU specializes in Inter-Cultural Intelligence development for the Middle East. She is also a certified coach in inter-cultural intelligence.