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Employee Wellbeing Q4 2023

Steps to help make sure all employees feel included and safe

iStock / Getty Images Plus / JLco - Julia Amaral

Linda O’Sullivan

Head of Social Inclusion, Business in the Community Ireland

One of the cornerstones of employee wellbeing is a sense of belonging. Employees need healthy, meaningful relationships, based on strong connections with colleagues and a feeling they can bring their whole selves to work.


Organisational culture depends on strategies, policies and practices. Ultimately, however, culture relies on the interactions we have at work and how they make us feel.   

It can be easier for employees making up majority groups to feel aligned to culture than for employees that identify with minority groupings (through ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender and more). These colleagues can experience casual discrimination in their interactions with colleagues. 

Leading employers will be proactive in their
approach to ensuring all colleagues feel
respected and connected to the organisation.

Eliminate casual discrimination 

Casual discrimination is a form of prejudice that communicates hostile, derogatory or negative attitudes towards minority groups. It can be a verbal comment, a nonverbal gesture or action that makes a colleague feel excluded, invalidated or stereotyped. They are often subtle, unintentional and ambiguous and can be easily dismissed or rationalised. 

Such behaviours can have serious negative impacts on mental and physical health of the recipients.  For employers committed to building inclusive workplaces where all colleagues have a strong sense of belonging, taking a proactive approach to eradicating casual discrimination is vital. Some actions include: 

  1. Create clear policies and procedures for reporting and addressing casual discrimination.  Communicate these policies extensively and often. 
  1. Provide DE&I training for all staff to raise awareness of and sensitivity to casual discrimination and how it is harmful. 
  1. Create Employee Resource Groups to support and empower employees to build affinity networks and to foster a culture of respect and belonging. 
  1. Offer employee assistance programmes to help employees cope with the stress and trauma of experiencing or witnessing casual discrimination. 
  1. Encourage open dialogue and feedback among employees and managers. Provide coaching and mentoring for those who need to improve their communication skills or address their implicit biases. 

Ensure all employees are respected 

Leading employers will be proactive in their approach to ensuring all colleagues feel respected and connected to the organisation. In doing so, they can expect more engaged employees who are at the heart of success.  

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to promoting responsible and sustainable business practices.  

Visit bitc.ie  

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