Inclusion directly impacts performance, especially when it comes to innovation. Inclusive groups facilitate more ideas, better ideas and different ideas. On an individual level, performance improves when a person feels included and that has a direct impact on the group. Employees who believe they have more of a “voice” will exert more effort on behalf of the group, going above and beyond the “call of duty.”
But inclusion means more than just engaging internal team members. The more we work to educate and develop diverse talent, the larger the pool of potential employees and businesses we have to draw from. An environment that includes and engages a diverse group of talented people provides a competitive advantage and contributes to superior work.
Consider the case of the Building with an Objective to provide Opportunity through Sustainable Training (BOOST) program, which focuses on educating contractors. “There isn’t a book out there on how to be a sub [contractor],” said Lori Fox, of ML Fox Construction LLC, a BOOST participant. In order to address this educational gap, we created BOOST to help contractors improve their skills and raise the standards of the trade contractor pool in our communities. “The BOOST program is a pretty comprehensive overview of being a subcontractor,” said Fox. “It was really helpful. A lot of the things we had been doing – but maybe didn’t understand the why, and didn’t understand things from the general’s perspective.” The ten-week program focuses on key construction management topics: everything from contracts and insurance to LEED and safety. By providing these resources to small and disadvantaged businesses, the BOOST program educates the trade contractor community to better understand their work, helping them perform better and deliver better results. “We go after all kinds of work now,” said Fox.
Inclusion works because it is a competitive advantage.