Don’t care about inclusion? you’re probably wasting money

By Graeme Derby, WLP
The most pressing issues faced by businesses are, staff recruitment & retention, the economic environment, controlling costs, and retaining customers. So, how can inclusivity help?
Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Autumn|Winter 2022
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Business Growth & Improvement: WLP

Research published in Forbes magazine* found that inclusive workplaces are six times more likely to be innovative and twice as likely to beat financial budgets. Also, employees who feel fully engaged are 40% less likely to leave for another job within a year.

At the heart of inclusivity is team working; understanding how contributions from many sources can improve your business and save cost. If contributions are from too narrow a group, don’t be surprised, for instance, to see increased service costs, regular unplanned software upgrades, frustration damage to hardware, and poor customer retention.

Is there a root cause? Often it will be a lack of thought about the end user; companies generally sell to a customer and their needs and expectations take priority. For example, consider how a poor user experience around self-service payment kiosks can frustrate our daily actions. The principle is sound, as people like using technology when they can see the benefit, and payment kiosks should be straightforward to use. But so often the finished product appears to be led by the technology, rather than focussed on the end user.

My ‘favourite’ example is the car park payment kiosk at my local railway station, where it seems clear little team expertise was used, and the technical element has triumphed over the other considerations. The kiosk functions well enough, but so many best practice user experience guidelines have been ignored; sun shining on the screen, a lack of protection from the elements, and poor positioning of the various steps for payment, amongst them. The result is the kiosk is difficult to operate, leading to long queues and disgruntled users.

This has a cost, because either the kiosk is underutilised, leading to a poor return on investment, or service costs are too high because of frustrated users. A fully engaged team should have considered the full customer journey from product concept and customer usage, through to technical feasibility, operational efficiency, and maintenance. 

Creating inclusive teams is not straightforward, but there are some simple principles to follow:

  • Ensure everyone has a voice and feels comfortable expressing their view
  • Discourage group thinking which maintains the status quo
  • Encourage the team rather than the individual to own ideas, and
  • Be honest with each other

An end-to-end approach from concept to delivery, built on years of experience in helping businesses across many sectors, is at the heart of the WLP recipe for product development, operational efficiency and reducing costs. It can be an uncomfortable process, but done properly, it provides a range of wider benefits to any business and is beneficial in developing the talent available to you.

*Forbes magazine; Creating inclusive cultures, Sept 22 https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbooksauthors/2021/11/03/diversity-and-inclusion-in-the-workplace/?sh=43df1f1b4e28

Don't care about inclusion? you're probably wasting money 1

Graeme Derby is a Business Mentor at WLP, which helps SME businesses, across East Anglia, to grow and improve.
If you would like some help creating ideas and strategies to harness the potential which inclusivity offers, then feel free to contact Graeme.derby@w-l-p.co.uk or Richard.garwell@w-l-p.co.uk
Or visit www.w-l-p.co.uk

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