Inclusive Climate- Key Factor to Psychologically Healthy Workplaces

June 7, 2019

There are two significant trends in the workplace worth noting: 1) increased concern for the health and well-being of employees, and 2) greater emphasis and value placed on workforce Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). (Note: DEI is a vast topic with three distinct components. This article will specifically tackle the “I” of DEI.)

 

Although these trends are often seen as separate, they are, in fact, inextricably linked. The health and well-being of any organization depends on having a workforce that feels that they belong and are valued and respected for their unique social identities, such as citizenship, race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender/sex, gender identity, age, or dis/ability.

 

The issue with many organizations, however, is that underrepresented groups often feel a lack of belonging; this has implications for employees, teams, as well as the enterprise, such as stagnant creativity and innovation, dysfunctional/non-productive teams, and higher levels of attrition of marginalized groups. Using the latter as an example, many women and people of color are leaving the tech world voluntarily due to unfair treatment, costing these companies $16 billion a year (Scott, Kapor Klein, & Onovakpuri, 2017). Furthermore, there is growing concern regarding the impact that a negative workplace can have on physical and mental well-being (WHO, 2019). Absenteeism, due to mental health issues, has severe worldwide economic ramifications. Because of this, it is imperative that organizations build inclusive climates, as inclusivity is a key factor in producing psychologically healthy and economically thriving workplaces.

 

The wellness and inclusion link

Psychologists, such as myself, understand that our well-being is influenced by three factors: bi