Inclusion is critical for every team to reach its full potential. Teams that succeed in increasing the sense of inclusion have been shown to generate a perceived improvement in team performance, the quality of their decisions, and their collaborations. Inclusion is also central to retention.
According to neuroscience research, the positive effects of inclusion happen because when a person secretes oxytocin – a substance in the brain that gives the feeling of community and security – it can trigger serotonin, the substance that gives the feeling of confirmation and having what is required. In this state, people feel more courageous and dare to come up with new ideas and projects, which in turn triggers dopamine, a substance in the reward structure of the brain that gives us the feeling of motivation, inspiration, and stimulation.
In organizations, inclusion is "... the active actions that individuals encounter at their workplace every day – behaviours, personal treatment, group norms, leadership styles and structures – which determine the extent to which individuals can be themselves while also feeling that they belong to the team or group.”
Measure inclusion at your workplace
Inclusion means having a voice at the table. For various reasons, people tend to listen to some more than others. On the other hand, when you measure inclusion with the help of your modern employee survey, you give every employee the opportunity to make their voice heard on equal terms. Measuring also makes those from whom you ask for input feel listened to, which contributes to a feeling of security.
When you continuously measure inclusion, areas that you should spend time and resources on to drive the change required for the team to feel and perform at their best become visible. A measurement cannot be about collecting data, but an employee survey must make it easy to understand and act on the measurement results. The leader and the team must be able to have a constructive dialogue in connection with each measurement result and act for improvement and celebrate success.
In today's workplace, it is important to work with continuous and small improvements to meet changes agilely. However, it is not realistic to correct all shortcomings immediately. What is important is to start the necessary conversations, keep the ball rolling, and continuously move teams in the desired direction. Since employees' experience is not objective but subjective ideas in the brains of those involved and can change and be influenced often, it is important to understand and follow the development.
Create a sustainable process
A prerequisite for measuring inclusion over time is that employees truthfully share how they experience their workplace. By including the employee both in sharing anonymously and making the measurement results and insights visible to the employee themselves, the team, and the organization, you create a balance between gaining insights and returning value. When employees have access to the measurement results, they quickly see what works well in the group and where there are shortcomings. Such transparency within the team often means that a dialogue about team improvement starts and where the team naturally contributes to taking responsibility for changes.
An employee survey must be designed around areas that the team can influence. The latest neuroscience and organizational research show that it is enough to measure nine areas, one of which is the feeling of inclusion, to get a broad picture of the employee experience. With one question per area, it takes less than a minute for employees to answer, which makes it possible to measure frequently and have a continuously updated picture of the employee experience. Should there be a need to measure inclusion in more detail, it is easy to add in-depth questions.
Secure your long-term inclusion work
Having an inclusive workplace benefits everyone, from the employee's well-being and development to a leader's ability to coach the team to realize their full potential - and ultimately the organization's chance for long-term and sustainable development. By measuring inclusion as part of your modern employee survey, you'll know if your efforts move the team and organization in the desired direction. If you are off course, you will know where you need to prioritize your focus to improve the feeling of inclusion.