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SHRM Report: Resilient Organizations Are Inclusive Ones

Organizations across various industries have experienced some of the most turbulent global challenges in the workforce. From the global pandemic to the great resignation, organizations are trying to stay afloat as they adjust to a constantly changing “new normal” in their fields. Interestingly, it is apparent that some organizations faired far better during these past experiences than other organizations. This results in one question: How did successful organizations triumph over these adversities? In a recent SHRM Report “Resilient Organizations are Inclusive Ones” by Matt Gonzales (https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/behavioral-competencies/global-and-cultural-effectiveness/Pages/SHRM-Report-Resilient-Organizations-Are-Inclusive-Ones.aspx), we learn that firms that were able to endure and outlast various challenges were considered “resilient” organizations. The report studied this concept of resiliency and found that this characteristic strongly correlates with “inclusivity”. Ultimately, concluding that if an organization would like to secure longevity in its field, then resiliency begins with an increased sense of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

The report mentions two major forms of inclusion. First, at the top level is organizational inclusivity. This form of inclusion describes the overall work culture and environment. This boils down to implementing fair treatment among all employees, integrating each other’s differences, and allowing employees to have a voice in decisions. Furthermore, real progress toward the organization’s resilience cannot be made without the foundation for organizational inclusivity. Organizational inclusivity is the catalyst for resiliency and without this structure and foundation, then any methods of inclusivity at the second level would ultimately fail. It is important that an organization layout this groundwork before building upon it in the second form. 

The second form of inclusion is employee inclusivity. This form describes colleagues’ interactions and leadership treatment of their constituents. The report measured employee inclusivity by analyzing the number of inclusive workshops, managerial training sessions, organizational norms, etc. Interestingly, the report emphasized the importance of inclusive leadership and that the progress of organizational inclusivity is dependent upon leadership’s buy-in. Characteristics of inclusive leadership include supporting employee needs, ensuring organizational equity, facilitating shared decision-making, encouraging different contributions, and supporting employees’ involvement in the organization. Employee inclusivity works together with organizational inclusivity. Ultimately, with these two forms of inclusion, an organization has successfully created the groundwork, built structure, and secured the foundation of resiliency. By safeguarding inclusivity at the leadership level, the organization creates psychological safety among its employees. 

Third, the report concludes with the idea of psychological safety in the workplace. Katie Merlini, co-author, and senior researcher at SHRM mentioned that inclusion can be seen as the “glue” and “grease for an organization. For example, successful diversity and inclusion help employees stick together, cope with emotions, form bonds with one another, and create trust, respect, and strong communication in the workplace. Merlini also states, “…when employees feel like their uniqueness is valued, they’re more likely to share their unique perspectives with others, which is important for ideation.” Finally, psychological safety is the bridge between inclusion and resiliency. With psychological safety comes workplace agility and inventiveness.

Overall, organizations that are in it for the long run are inclusive. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are of utmost importance for the organization and its employees. Ultimately, this report reminds us that companies and their leaders are accountable and responsible for the well-being of their employees and the overall resiliency of the entire organization.

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