How Gratitude supports Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

How Gratitude supports Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Since the Equalities Act in 2010, equality, diversity and inclusion have been at the forefront of public health. We need to keep working hard to make sure that the diverse cross-section of society in our staff rooms are treated with equality and feel included in our organisations. We need to embrace difference and want to engender a sense of social belonging.

Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA. And yet, 40% of people say they feel isolated at work, resulting in lower organisational commitment and engagement.

Belonging is defined as "the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place." For people to feel like they belong, the environment needs to be a diverse and inclusive place.

Unfortunately, those who fall into 'the 'protected characteristics' of the equalities act may still feel isolated. In fact Hannah Wilson of Diverse Educators said that she thought we we we're regressing rather than progressing at the moment and felt embarrassed that we had hadn't made enough progress since the Equalities Act.

One way we can make our staff feel more included is through the power of gratitude.

Gratitude not only strengthens relationships, but it also shifts negative thoughts and behaviors into more positive ones by broadening and building social and mental resources. By sharing your genuine gratitude with others, you'll start to create a more connected environment. Deep and robust human connection is the key to inclusion. This is because people are more likely to support, protect, and empathise with those they believe to be similar to them. Therefore, feeling connected within a group leads to feeling included in an organisation.

By making gratitude part of our daily work/home routines we can open channels of gratitude, leaving a message on TAP's thanking walls is a great way to do this; the messages can even be anonymised, should you wish. Even if the recipient doesn't know who said thank you, you will still feel good, because you made someone else feel wanted, included and part of the team. We are all different but gratitude builds bridges, uniting our differences and making us all one.

Another way to open a channel is by speaking out via blogs, podcasts, articles and presentations to model the showing of appreciation. So that others can take these ideas and show appreciation in their own lives.

It isn't a matter of people not being grateful, often people don't know how to show appreciation. There are always systems and procedures to critique everything that is wrong, to complain about how bad people or organisations are, it's important that we have positive affirmations of all the things that are working!

Let's keep on spreading positivity through the power of gratitude, and make everyone feel equally validated and included, let's change our own lives and the society around us for the better!

Have a listen to our related TAP Education Radio Show which includes Hannah talking about her new book Diverse Educators: A Manifesto!