We have been welcomed into our colleagues homes. We have pivoted quickly to more inclusive work practices. How do we bring these practices with us to our new NORMAL? How do we ensure we don’t revert to habit? How do we maintain a sense of BELONGING in yet another upheaval for employees in transitioning back? Because a sense of BELONGING for each individual is what will ensure you increase productivity, innovation and collaboration, and that’s exactly what we need to recover and to start to climb the ladder back.

The stress of COVID, working from home and the complexity of juggling ‘life’ and work, imminent relocating back with the complications involved in social distancing and office together with some employees still working from home PLUS the current economic environment has lead many employees to be ‘frenetically working’ – extremely busy and wanting to be visible out of fear, yet not as productive as we think. Most employees sit in the bottom two rungs of MASLOW’s HEIRARCY of needs. In order to move them up the ladder – the key ingredient is BELONGING – which is INCLUSION.

Most employees sit here right now. The cost of complacency is roughly $30,000 per annum per disengaged employee in Australia.

Strategically embedded and real INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP needs to be a significant part of the engine that jumpstarts business recovery, from the unanticipated disruption of COVID-19 to planning for their employee’s “reintegration.”

As we live through this extraordinary moment in history, with unexpected levels of uncertainty and risks not seen for generations, it is those companies that are able to draw on a wealth of perspectives in their teams—across genders, generations, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds—that will ultimately be prepared for our new collective, global reality.

Now, as societies and economies prepare for the unknowable post-coronavirus world, organisations are re-evaluating what it means to be a sustainable business. Recent months have reminded us all that innovative and agile approaches to work are key components of survival through crisis. Collaboration, trust and mutual support have also proved critical to team and organisational endurance.

With their high impact on innovation, and their influence on creating cultures of psychological safety, diversity and inclusion will be more important than ever as we move from shock to adaptation and, eventually, emergence from the effects of the pandemic.

I&D is a powerful enabler of business performance. Companies whose leaders welcome diverse talents and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger. In short: diversity wins, now more than ever.


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