Research shows investing in inclusion pays off for Australian workplaces

Research shows investing in inclusion pays off for Australian workplaces

The Inclusion@Work Index is the first nationally representative index of inclusion experiences of Australian employees, led by DCA and supported by Suncorp the research clearly identifies the benefits of inclusion in building cohesive and productive teams.

The survey found that inclusion is good for customers and for employees, with workers in inclusive teams almost five times more likely to report their team provides excellent customer service and 19 times more likely to be very satisfied with their job.

DCA chief executive officer Lisa Annese said results of the survey revealed strong support for inclusion initiatives among Australian employees.

“The DCA-Suncorp Inclusion@Work Index establishes the first national index of inclusion experiences of Australian workers and found there was a high level of support for inclusion in Australian workplaces with some 75 per cent of people in support or strong support of inclusion programs,” she said.

The study also found that employees in inclusive teams drive great results for business and are:

  • 10 times more likely to be highly effective (58 per cent to 6 per cent)
  • 9 times more likely to innovate (45 per cent to 5 per cent)
  • 4 times more likely to stay with their employer over the coming year (62 per cent to 16 per cent)
  • 5 times more likely to provide excellent customer service (61 per cent to 13 per cent)
  • 3 times more likely to work extra hard (61 per cent to 21 per cent)

Support for diversity initiatives

Australian workers overwhelmingly support workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives with just 3 per cent reporting they were strongly opposed to their organisation taking action to boost diversity and inclusion.

Interestingly, the survey showed that employees who don’t belong to a minority group, such as men from Anglo-cultural backgrounds and older men, were less supportive of work-based inclusion initiatives. Just 69 per cent of surveyed men supported diversity and inclusion initiatives compared with 82 per cent of women and people from other demographic groups.

The research also revealed that more than one in five (22 per cent) Australian workers experienced discrimination or harassment in 2016. This figure spiked to 38 per cent for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians, followed closely by Australians with a disability (34 per cent) and Australians under 30 (30 per cent).

Suncorp chief executive director and managing director Michael Cameron said the findings will kick start important conversations that should lead to more inclusiveness in all types of organisations.

“Our businesses perform at their best when leaders provide an environment where people feel included, connected and valued,” he said.

Inclusion benefits everyone

One of the goals of this research and the report was to challenge the myth that diversity and inclusion initiatives only benefit the minority groups they target.

Ms Annese said the findings clearly demonstrated that inclusion benefits all employees in an organisation and this piece of research provides the missing piece of evidence.

“… this as an opportunity – one where we not only provide safe and inclusive workplaces for our employees, but also boost business outcomes along the way.

“Cutting harassment and increasing job satisfaction has significant repercussions. And inclusion, as it turns out, plays a much bigger part in achieving this than we previously knew.

“With currently one in two Australians reporting to work in an inclusive team, it’s good to remember that this can be done and with the right benchmarks in place, we hope to see companies address this over the coming year.

“What this research has also made abundantly clear is the strong support for Australian employers to invest in inclusive workplaces, and the overwhelming business and employee benefits of doing so,” she said.

Access the Diversity@Work Index