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Positive work environment leads to feelings of inclusion among employees

Leaders who seek the input of organizational members from all job positions and encourage everyone, regardless of educational background or job responsibilities, to take initiative and participate in work-related processes are more likely to increase feelings of inclusion.

Promoting an inclusive working environment can lead to higher satisfaction, innovation, trust, and retention among employees suggest a new study.

Scientists examined the relationships among leader engagement, inclusion, innovation, job satisfaction, and perceived quality of care in a diverse nonprofit health care organization. They noticed how the nonprofit sector generally suffers from high employee-turnover rates, low work performance and deficits among the leadership, and wanted to find out what could be done to break this cycle.

Kim Brimhall, assistant professor of social work at Binghamton University‘s College of Community and Public Affairs collaborated with a large nonprofit hospital in Los Angeles. The collaboration surveyed employees on topics such as leader engagement, inclusion, innovation, job satisfaction and perceived quality of care. They also conducted several interviews as well as several organizational observations.

Examining the data, scientists found that leaders who seek the input of organizational members from all job positions and encourage everyone, regardless of educational background or job responsibilities, to take initiative and participate in work-related processes are more likely to increase feelings of inclusion. This then leads to increased innovation, employee job satisfaction and quality of services in nonprofit organizations.

Brimhall said, “When nonprofit organization members believe that they are valued for their unique personal characteristics and are recognized as important members of the organization, employee engagement, trust, satisfaction, commitment, and retention improve. Leader engagement, that is, a leader’s ability to actively engage all organizational members in critical decision making, may foster a climate for inclusion and positive organizational outcomes, such as a climate for innovation, job satisfaction and perceived quality of care.”

Scientists are further planning to develop economically practical, evidence-based tools that leaders can utilize to create inclusive work environments. In collaboration with another large nonprofit hospital, scientists are also planning to conduct an experimental study testing workplace interventions.

These tools could help employees feel included and possibly lead to more innovation in the workplace and overall improvement in their feelings toward their job, which would then translate to improved quality of care given to clients.

The study is published in the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.

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