Published Monday 31st January 2022

Many businesses, both in the UK and worldwide, are still reeling from the COVID pandemic. While the worst of it is hopefully behind us, we’re now seeing with increasing clarity the long-term impact it will leave in its wake.

There are many high-priority issues for CEOs in 2022. Leaders’ in-trays are filled with supply chain issues, tech strategies, sustainability objectives, workforce morale and more.

However, these pressing concerns shouldn’t completely overshadow more long-term issues that also need to be addressed.

In fact, cracking the issue of inclusivity could be more important to your business now than ever before.

Your Best Asset is Your People

This might seem obvious, but it’s a message that’s worth repeating.

In many cases, it’s the incredible efforts of different people that have kept businesses afloat in troubled waters.

That’s people inside and outside your organisation, from the incredible front-line workers facing the pandemic head-on, to your junior staff that have needed to adapt to new working conditions. All of this has happened while people have been dealing with their personal challenges from the pandemic.

Without willing, dedicated people, the issues you’ve faced over the last few years would have been many times worse.

These challenging times have also motivated everyone to reflect on their career, themselves and their employer, which has presented another immediate problem.

The Cost of Resignation

Over the last few months, many businesses have suffered from the great resignation, as droves of people left the employer they were with before or during the pandemic.

As of January 18th, the UK job vacancy figure was reported at a record 1.2 million, despite unemployment at just 4.1%.

A lack of workers isn’t just a problem for the business concerned. Various workforce restrictions, whether stay at home orders or social distancing requirements, have played a part in the slowdown of global supply chains.

Companies have known for a long time the substantial expenses that come with resignations, but the true cost is only being exasperated by current market conditions. With a hugely competitive skills market and inflation on the rise, wages are expected to grow rapidly in 2022, especially if you need to hire new staff.

The Impact of Inclusivity

It has never been more important for businesses to create an inclusive culture in the workplace. Not just for your staff, but for the short-term future of your company.

This means creating a workplace environment that encourages a range of individual personalities to contribute to the business’s success and then providing support for each of their unique wants and needs.

Creating an inclusive culture in your businesses can deliver immediate benefits. For one, if your workers genuinely feel part of the organisation’s journey, they’re much less likely to get itchy feet and consider handing you their resignation.

However, there are many long-term benefits to creating a truly inclusive organisational culture. Inspired staff will deliver more efficiency due to less stress-related sickness and more motivation. More willing staff will adapt to new practices more rapidly, including tech adoption, and they will also be more motivated to develop and improve as part of your company.

Turning Intention into Action

While many businesses talk about inclusivity, it’s another thing to turn those ideas into action. Creating an inclusive workplace isn’t something that can happen overnight. However, every business can take small steps to foster a more inclusive environment.

Education is one of the most productive places to start – for both leadership and the general workforce. Acknowledging where there might be unconscious bias and how to address this will set the foundations for a more inclusive workplace.

Continuous learning will ensure organisations do all they can to cultivate an environment focused on equality. Investing in diverse leadership and inclusive leadership strategies also show your commitment to making change on a company-wide level.

Embracing technology to improve operations and efficiency is likely already a top priority, but using technology to enable flexible work arrangements should also be considered. Adaptability and flexible working mean a higher proportion of your workforce, no matter their requirements, can achieve what they need to with ease.

Listening to what your people need and putting this into action will also ensure that your business is making genuine and necessary changes to change workplace culture.

A good sense of workforce well-being is becoming something that more prospective employees seek from employers. Championing employee well-being highlights you as a business that appreciates its people and knows what they need and want.

Investing in an inclusive future for your business will support your long term growth, ensuring that you’re retaining and attracting the talent needed to allow you to go from strength to strength.

To find out how Expense Reduction Analysts could help your organisation develop effective cost reduction strategies and identify opportunities for growth, get in touch with our expert team today.