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Inclusion: How to close the inclusion gap

There has been allot in the press recently about the gender pay gap (GPG) and its impact on reducing diversity in the workplace but there is also a less talked about another gap -- the Inclusion Gap. The Inclusion Gap is the space between diversity potential and the ability to unlock the potential. Simply increasing the number of under-represented groups in your workforce will not lead to inclusive decision making and inclusive decision making is where the magic happens. To activate the critical competitive advantage of inclusive decision making a company needs not only a diverse workforce but a recognition that all members should be actively involved in the decision making process.

To make it clearer you can have an organisation with a fairly diverse workforce but yet decisions are not made in an inclusive way and exclusionary behaviors exist. This gap often exists where a company has not embedded inclusivity alongside diversity as part of the normal business decision making process.

The inclusivity gap can be narrowed by an organisation committing, at the highest levels, to actively add inclusivity into the decision making process until it becomes normalized.

I think there are three main ways organisations can to close the Inclusion Gap;

  • Unconscious bias training for all hiring managers initially, and then across the organisation. This needs to be repeated at least annually. To be truly effective this should be supported by an effective call-out system and role modeled from the top of the organisation.

  • Training on inclusive decision making for all managers, repeated annual and embedded in normal line manager training.

  • Create a culture norm of review and feedback at all levels.

Alongside these actions at the corporate levels individuals can also have an impact to turn the dial at work - please see my page here on how everyone has a role to play to reduce the Inclusion Gap.

By undertaking these actions at a corporate and colleague level inclusive decision making will become normalized, which will increase not only the breadth of active participants in decision making across the organisation but also improve the transparency of decisions at all levels.

Closing the Inclusion Gap is not easy but if done well can have a transformational effect on an organisation leading to real innovation of thought and products.

If you enjoyed this post please check out the rest of my blog here, including my post on the presentism conundrum and calling it a day on the Ideal Worker.

All opinions are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer.


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