There is growing recognition that diversity and inclusion have become fundamental pillars of business success and a thriving and mentally healthy workplace. As organisations strive to foster environments that promote and support employees’ positive mental health and wellbeing, it has become increasingly evident that diversity and inclusion play a pivotal role in achieving this. Beyond just being buzzwords, diversity and inclusion are powerful catalysts for creating workplaces where employees have a sense of belonging, feel respected and valued, and can contribute, grow, and succeed within the workplace.
New research links inclusion to better employee mental health outcomes. The Inclusion@Work 2023-2024 Early Findings Report data reveals:
- Workers in inclusive teams are six times more likely to report work has a positive impact on their mental health .
- Workers who had access to the flexibility they needed to manage work and other commitments were almost four times more likely to feel their work positively impacted their mental health .
- Company culture and management play a significant role, indicating that workers with inclusive organisational climates and managers were four times more likely to report that work had a positive impact on their mental health .
As workplaces deepen their efforts in DE&I initiatives, they can create more inclusive environments that support and promote employee wellbeing. So, how can workplaces build diverse and inclusive workplaces that contribute to a mentally healthy workplace?
Flexibility and flexible working arrangements: Inclusive practices such as flexibility and flexible working arrangements can positively impact employee mental health, engagement, and productivity by supporting a balance between work and non-work commitments.
Psychologically safe and inclusive culture: An inclusive culture can eliminate biases, prejudices, and discriminatory practices that can hinder the engagement and wellbeing of employees. A psychologically safe and inclusive culture can foster a sense of belonging and acceptance among employees from diverse backgrounds. Employees who feel valued for their unique perspectives and experiences can boost their self-esteem, mental health, and wellbeing.
Diverse and inclusive mental health support: Access to mental health support such as Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services that support a diverse range of workers can help cultivate safe and inclusive wellbeing services for minority or marginalised groups. This makes support accessible and inclusive, reducing all barriers to seeking help and ensuring that employees from various backgrounds, cultures, and identities feel safe and supported by their workplace.
Leadership support: Supportive leaders who role model inclusive behaviours and value diversity can positively impact employee mental health. They acknowledge and celebrate the unique perspectives and experiences that each team member brings to the table. Supportive leaders create an atmosphere where employees can openly discuss their challenges without fear of stigma or discrimination.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are intricately linked to employee mental health and are part of creating a mentally healthy workplace. As organisations increasingly understand that diversity and inclusion are essential for business success and employee mental health, it’s important to take deliberate steps to create psychologically safe and inclusive work environments where every individual feels valued, supported, and empowered.
Inclusion@Work 2023-2024 Early Findings Report https://www.dca.org.au/news/media-releases/workplace-inclusion-flexibility-can-improve-mental-health