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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: Mar 2015

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Unlock inclusive engagement and unleash performance

I’m delighted that I’m now talking to, and working with clients, which are interested in inclusive engagement. I am a long standing member of the Engage for Success (EfS) Guru Steering Group and, as I said in my February blog, the UK was ranked ninth for engagement levels amongst the world’s twelfth largest economies by GDP (Kenexa 2009). Moreover, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey found that output per hour in the UK was 15% below the average for the rest of the G7 industrialised nations in 2011; on an output per worker basis, UK productivity was 20% lower than the rest of the G7 in 2011. This represents the widest productivity gap since 1995. EfS has found that the research literature shows that there is a firm correlation between employee engagement and high organisational productivity and performance, across all sectors of the economy. Moreover, EfS asserts that were the UK to move its engagement levels to the middle of the top quartile, such as that for the Netherlands, this would be associated with a £25.8bn increase in GDP (Kenexa 2009).

The problem that I feel is not always addressed is that driving engagement without paying attention to Inclusion is insufficient. This is because of microinequities. We are all constantly conveying subtle, often unconscious, messages that either value or devalue other individuals. These are conveyed through facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, choice of words, nuance and syntax. Repeatedly receiving patterns of negative micro messages, known as microinequities, can erode commitment and loyalty and have the cumulative effect of diminishing engagement and performance. Professor Mary Rowe has shown that individuals from groups that are underrepresented historically in senior management experience more microinequities than those in the ‘majority’ group. Hence, these tend to be women, minority ethnic, LGBT and disabled people.

To deliver inclusive engagement, including overcoming microinequities, the following needs to occur:

  1. The leadership has to offer a vision of future success through inclusive engagement.

  2. There has to be training to enable people to understand microinequities and how these play out in relation to gender, cultural and generational difference tendencies and sexuality and disability.

  3. Managers and team leaders need to be trained to:

    • listen to people, including how to do this for people from diverse backgrounds;

    • empower people;

    • help each member of their teams to identify their talents and develop them for performance now and in the future.

  4. The vision needs to be implemented through a strategy that is underpinned by behavioural change methodology, i.e. it is sequenced in terms of the stages of of change, ‘unfreezing’, ‘mobilising’, ‘realising’, ‘reinforcing’ and ‘sustaining’ and takes account of the Beckhard change equation, which states that the vision of future success and the plan for delivering it must be so compelling that they catalyse people to be able to muster the considerable effort needed by them to change their behaviour and ways of doing things.

The results of building a culture of inclusive engagement are massive. I have used it to turn round failing factories, loss making global businesses, underperforming Government offices and enable the success of major IT projects.

If you want any more information on inclusive engagement please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Dr Ian Dodds,



27 Feb 2015


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