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Richard McKenna
Managing Director, Inclusive Employers
Richard  McKenna

Out of the box thinking - why inclusion is good for business

Authors: Richard McKenna Richard McKenna, MD, Inclusive Employers

03 October 2013

What does inclusion mean in a workplace context and why is it good for your business? Inclusion is a relatively new strategic approach to business that puts your most valuable resource first, your people.

Everyone that works for you is valuable to your organisation and should be adding value to your organisation. Harnessing difference offers you a commercial opportunity but employers have become too hung up on strand-specific activities rather than removing the exclusion barriers for everyone. Most people don’t conveniently fit into just one box, so strategies that focus on just one group are not going to be sustainable in the long run, you need a blended approach.

Managing the complexity of diversity in and around our workplaces is something that many employers find challenging. Two years ago I set up Inclusive Employers because I had a clear vision of the business benefits of inclusion.

The message is really quite simple, if you look after the needs of your people, they will look after the needs of your business and everyone prospers.

It’s time we got behind the concept of inclusion to end the isolation and discrimination thousands of employees face on a daily basis. We need to harness the talent of our diverse workforces to reap the commercial rewards that inclusion offers us.

Three years have passed since the introduction of the Equality Act; it hasn’t been the magic wand many campaigners were hoping for. The pace of change in UK workplaces has been slow and the number of employment tribunals is sadly on the rise. In 2010/11 there were:

  • 6,800 age discrimination claims
  • 5000 race discrimination claims
  • 640 sexual orientation discrimination claims
  • 880 religion or belief discrimination claims
  • 18,300 sex discrimination claims & 1,900 claims on grounds of detriment or unfair dismissal due to pregnancy.
  • 7,200 disability discrimination claims.


  • The cost of these claims to the UK economy in time, worry, stress and financial terms is considerable and can be avoided.Next week we’re celebrating the first ever National Inclusion Week to highlight the value and importance of inclusion across the UK.

Running from 7-11 October it is a unique opportunity to get connected to and engage with people who are passionate about inclusion in your workplace and beyond. Every organisation is welcome to take part in National Inclusion Week, it is free to register, visit: www.nationalinclusionweek.co.uk to find out more.
Some of The Work Foundation's partners have signed up, such as the House of Commons who produced this video on 'Top Tips for Inclusion':