Today's business landscape is stressful and competitive. With that in mind, companies are slowly recognizing that sleep and other wellness topics are pivotal to thriving in today's corporate landscape.

While more companies are implementing wellness initiatives, the majority of these companies are getting less-than-ideal results because they're not factoring in diversity and inclusion.

In today's landscape, diversity and inclusion are a core ingredient in creating a sustainable wellness initiative.

What is diversity and inclusion and how does it go with wellness?

Diversity and inclusion is a popular topic in the modern business landscape. But distinguishing the difference between the two is difficult for many individuals and companies.

To help bring some clarification to the differences, I reached out to Tayo Rockson, a cross-cultural trainer along with being a diversity and inclusion consultant (and the host of the number one cross-cultural podcast, "As Told By Nomads").

When it comes to diversity, Rockson describes it as "referring to demographic differences that distinguish one person from another. These differences go beyond visible differences, it's also things we can't see."

In a wellness context, this is your employee's specific language, education, and cultural upbringing about health topics.

Inclusion is "the state of being that supports diversity. It enables diverse individuals and groups to function in ways where differences are respected and gifts are valued. Inclusion is about involvement and empowerment" says Rockson.

As you create your wellness initiative, an effective manner of inclusion leads to your employees participating more in the decision-making process.

In summary, Rockson shared the analogy that "diversity is like a seed and inclusion is like the fruit. Most seeds don't make it to the fruits stage because they haven't been nourished properly. And if they aren't nurtured properly, they won't blossom."

To ensure that your wellness initiative blossoms, implement these five key principles.

1. Assess

"Take inventory of what the current temperature is like in your company around diversity and inclusion. For anything to be sustainable, you need to understand why you're doing something in the first place" says Rockson.

The first objective on your agenda is to look at the big picture of your company. What does a diverse and inclusive wellness program look like in your company? What types of relationships are key to getting this off the ground? Perhaps it's forming a committee in order to get varied opinions to create a well-rounded offering.

2. Arrange

It's time for strategy after asking numerous questions and collecting data.

The first step is to "align your diversity and inclusion strategy with the overall vision of the organization. Next, you want to craft a mission and vision statement. You want them to speak to your company's values and the company culture you aspire to cultivate." says Rockson

These actions lead to clarity throughout the entire organization which equates to improved communication within the organization.

What type of wellness offerings will we launch is a solid question to start with?

For example, you could have different cultures represented by bringing in dishes to showcase the various identities of healthy food. This creates learning and team bonding opportunities which creates better engagement and productivity.

3. Apply

At this point, it's time to implement and take action. Using in-house trainers, online education, or bringing in various wellness and lifestyle experts is an effective strategy here.

Assessing and arranging beforehand will lead to the company spending their money effectively because they have listened to what the workforce wanted and then took action based off of that.

4. Accountability and analysis

In order to see if something is working, it's important to establish specific metrics. As you're evaluating the initiative, "think of it as a report card and come up with your own grading system" says Rockson.

It's important to be transparent with your workforce and share everything. You could hold meetings with the entire staff every quarter or have your wellness committee take charge of the communication efforts.

Use surveys and key performance metrics to survey your wellness initiative to ensure it's diverse in its offerings by asking unique questions to gather this specific intel.

5. Affinity

This stage is about longevity and making sure your wellness efforts aren't short-lived. With this knowledge in mind, the top catalyst for improving diversity and inclusion is companies affinity networks.

As Rockson explained to me, "these are usually led by volunteers who dedicate significant portions of their time to help recruit, develop and retain members of their network. Affinity groups are a key part of any diversity and inclusion strategy because they are the voice for several identity groups."

As you build a diverse and inclusive wellness initiative, your affinity group will be the leaders when it comes to marketing campaigns, communicating, garnering excitement to boost participation, and ultimately making your company more attractive.

Published on: Apr 30, 2018