How having an inclusive culture promotes good employee wellbeing

Posted: 02 Feb 2022

The business benefits of an inclusive workplace are well documented. But what’s discussed less often is that many of these benefits stem from the positive impact inclusion has on employee wellbeing.

Because while an inclusive environment is crucial to getting the best from a diverse workforce, many organisations, like AVEVA, are beginning to understand how important these feelings are to the overall physical, mental, and emotional health of employees too.

It starts with belonging

What we all want from work is changing. Many of us are becoming less concerned with job security and caring more about the value of our work. More than simply ‘producing’ work, we want to feel that we’re ‘contributing’ to something that matters: sharing ideas, influencing decisions, and having our voice heard. This active participation and sense of inclusion is how we know we’re part of something. It’s how we feel we belong.

We’ve learned there are many positives that come from belonging. Employees are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to stay with us. And importantly, when it comes to their wellbeing, they’re more likely to raise issues and ask for help in managing them.

At AVEVA, we’re learning that providing tools and introducing initiatives is only one part of the wellbeing equation. Employees also need the confidence to use them: to know they can take time out of their day to do the things they need to and feel safe talking about what’s going on in their lives without being judged. All this comes from a strong sense of belonging, which only happens for everyone when the working culture is inclusive.

Putting it into practice

The last 18 months have been difficult for everyone. At AVEVA, both the Coronavirus pandemic and our integration with OSIsoft created significant change for our business. This has made the wellbeing of our people even more of a priority and inclusion is woven into the approach we’ve taken.

Wellbeing at AVEVA takes in four areas of focus. Health covers all the aspects traditionally associated with wellbeing – that of physical, mental, and financial health. But our view goes wider to take in personal growth, our employees’ experience of work (from their working environment to how we manage change) and the connections they’re able to make with colleagues and in the community. With this more holistic view of wellbeing, we’re organically embedding ways to build a more inclusive culture within it.

Our Wellbeing Month, which happened in October, is one example of how we’re trying to do this. We used a month of activities to engage people in the wellbeing conversation across AVEVA. Global themes brought everyone together for events, discussions, and to raise awareness of the support and resources on offer. These themes included ‘Mental health in an unequal world’ and ‘Wellbeing for all’ – topics that already have inclusion at their heart.

But the real success of the month came from giving people the opportunity to explore these issues in their own way. Each region planned their own events related to the themes: ‘Looking after your physical health’ saw health information sessions in Brazil and K-Pop dance workshops in Korea, for example. At the same time, our Employee Resource Groups hosted discussions with external speakers to spark conversations and educate colleagues, and individual employees shared personal insights on topics that are important to them. This year we saw blogs and articles on areas as varied as managing stress and anxiety to working flexibly. The cumulative effect is to promote inclusion by giving everyone an opportunity to take part.

Employee voice

When it comes to creating a more inclusive culture that fosters good wellbeing, we believe we need to establish the right behaviours. Encouraging everyone to make a point of scheduling time for the gym or a meditation practice, is just one of the ways we’re doing that.

We believe we must also actively listen to what employees are telling us about our culture and their wellbeing. We do this through our Engagement survey, paying careful attention to the detail they share. We engage and listen to the feedback from our employee networks. By doing this we are gaining a better understanding of the issues our employees are facing.

We are at the beginning of our Diversity and Inclusion journey at AVEVA, but we’re confident in the difference an inclusive approach will make to the wellbeing of our people.