We all want to belong, to be part of and to feel like we are contributing to a greater good. This has been a basic human need throughout history and still is in the 21st century.
We find belonging in many ways, through our families and friends, our communities, cultures and institutions. We also find belonging in workplaces when we work together with like-minded colleagues in teams.
Inclusion is about action. It’s about making sure your employees feel safe and valued, and that they’re experiencing growth, engagement, and well-being at work. On the other hand, belonging is a feeling. It’s about having the sense that you’re part of something bigger than yourself—that you have a place where you belong.
According to research from Great Place to Work, when employees feel like they belong at work they are:
– 3 times more likely to feel people look forward to coming to work
– 3 times more likely to say their workplace is fun
– 9 times more likely to believe people are treated fairly regardless of their race
– 5 times more likely to want to stay at their company a long time
By cultivating diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in the workplace, companies can foster creativity, improve business growth, and attract top talent. A recent McKinsey report indicated that firms with significant gender diversity outperform competitors by 25%, while those with more ethnic and cultural diversity beat competitors by 36%.
They recently launched a brand-new fully inclusive uniform as part of this strategy. There is no longer a men’s and women’s range, instead, the clothing items are simply categorised as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ fit, allowing employees to choose items that suit their own identity.
Coventry aims to create a workplace where everyone feels included regardless of gender identity, faith, cultural background and disability. The new range is designed to be fully inclusive, with staff free to choose items according to their own sense of who they are. Items are simply described as ‘masculine fit’ or ‘feminine fit’, enabling everyone to mix and match as they require.
The Coventry Building Society introduces a new uniform every four years, but this is a new departure for the business, as Alister Wilson, the Coventry’s Supplier Relationship Manager, explains: “we wanted to move away from a typical bank style uniform and give employees more versatility, and something that represents them in their workplace. So jSD designed this gender-neutral range with a different ‘fit’ for everyone to select what works best for them.”
The new Coventry Building Society uniform range is also fully sustainable throughout its life, from manufacture, packaging, and transport right through to end-of-life re-recycling.
One wearer commented:
“I love being able to pick what makes me comfortable. I have the freedom to mix and match different items.”
Engineering and construction business, Laing O’Rourke is another one of jSD’s clients that is encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They were looking to inspire more women to enter the construction industry, so they collaborated with jSD to create a range of items specifically designed for women, rather than an adaptation of men’s clothing.
Their vision was to challenge the norm and create something that reflected the company’s investment in its people by creating a healthier, smarter working environment.
Three Mobile, a UK-based mobile provider, is another company that puts inclusivity at the forefront of its business. Three Mobile is a business built on people. They take pride in promoting a diverse and inclusive culture—one that respects everyone who works there. They believe that an inclusive culture, underpinned by respect, is the foundation of a diverse organization.
Three Mobile chose jSD to design and develop their first flexible unisex wardrobe. In place of a separate male and female uniform, the employees were given the freedom to choose from a flexible wardrobe. The T-shirts were also part of the Better Cotton Initiative.
At Jermyn Street Design, we believe that uniforms are an important part of building a team that is fully inclusive.
Every employee should feel comfortable at work, regardless of age, gender, or ability, and your uniforms should reflect the diversity of your staff.
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