Reshaping a more inclusive, human-driven workplace for 2021

Kantar uses 2020 Inclusion Index data to explore reshaping the workplace for the better as people plan a return to the office.
11 November 2020
workplace inclusion and diversity
Becki Gonsalves

Director, Global Content and Asia-Pacific Marketing, Profiles Division , Asia-Pacific

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We recently concluded the 2020 Kantar Inclusion Index benchmarking study. As we set out to examine the results, we understood the need to consider the abnormal year in, or rather out of, the workplace.

While year-on-year comparisons would no doubt be impacted by the changes caused by the global pandemic, it’s given us more reason to pause and reflect on what changes are needed to create a more inclusive and human-driven workplace in 2021.

Below, you will find some of the key takeaways from this year’s benchmarking study.

Inclusion and diversity

Fifty two percent of people report their company to be working on inclusion and diversity. Whilst this comes with a promising lift of 12% from 2019, this means that almost half of businesses are reportedly not working on inclusion and diversity efforts. This could be related to perceptions around how businesses are both acting and communicating their actions through programmes and an embedded culture, but should there not be more activity in this area to really move the dial?

The low level of discrimination in the workplace has had a positive impact on the overall Inclusion Index score, with 86% reporting an absence of discrimination. However, this is down by two percent from 2019. In a year where racial injustice and demand for change has taken centre stage in society globally, is this enough?

Sixty one percent of people feel a sense of belonging within their company. This is the lowest scoring component of the three core factors that drive the overall Inclusion Index score, but it has improved by six percent year-on-year.

Twenty-seven percent of people report the presence of demeaning behaviour. Whilst this has seen encouraging progress since 2019, rising by nine percent, this is where some of the highest negative impact components are seen. Eighteen percent (18%) have experienced bullying in their workplace, even in 2020 when many people have not been in the office. Fourteen percent have been verbally harassed and eight percent have been physically harassed by co-workers.

Employer responsibilities

Whilst 49% of employees feel they can speak out and escalate demeaning behaviour to Senior Leaders and HR within their business, half don’t feel there is a safe avenue to raise concerns that can spark improvement.

It is important for businesses to use the return to work as a chance to address and re-imagine the workplace but also for us all to take our role in how we treat others around us. Employers can support with the programmes, training and culture they create and should empower their teams to approach every day and every person in a fair and inclusive way.

Employee wellbeing

One in three people report suffering from stress and anxiety (32%) and one in 10 report suffering from mental health related illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder (9%). These numbers have seen little variance between 2019 and 2020, suggesting employee wellbeing has an underlying factor beyond the stresses of COVID-19. Moreover, more than half of people don’t feel emotionally supported by their employers (55%). As people start to return to the office, virtually or physically, we have the opportunity to re-shape the workplace for the better. Using the Inclusion Index to survey employees allows businesses to benchmark against other companies in their specific industry. By better understanding people at a company level the door is opened to tailor actions that address and improve unique needs.

Never has it been more critical to create an inclusive working environment for employees to bring their whole self to work and for businesses to maximise the potential of their teams through care, consideration and inclusive behaviours.

Learn more here about the Kantar Inclusion Index or to speak to a representative on how your business can positively move the dial for your employees.

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