Fostering an inclusive work environment -- where leaders seek inputs from everyone regardless of their job responsibilities -- can lead to higher satisfaction, innovation, and trust among employees, a study suggests.
Researchers from Binghamton University in the US noticed how the nonprofit sector generally suffers from high employee-turnover rates, low work performance and deficits among the leadership, and wanted to find out what could be done to break this cycle.
Partnering with a large nonprofit hospital in Los Angeles, the team surveyed employees on topics such as leader engagement, inclusion, innovation, job satisfaction and perceived quality of care.
The study included one-on-one qualitative interviews, as well as several organisational observations.
Researchers found that leaders who seek the input of organisational members from all job positions and encourage everyone, regardless of educational background or job responsibilities, to take initiative and participate in work-related processes are more likely to increase feelings of inclusion.
This then leads to increased innovation, employee job satisfaction and quality of services in nonprofit organisations.
"When nonprofit organization members believe that they are valued for their unique personal characteristics and are recognised as important members of the organization, employee engagement, trust, satisfaction, commitment and retention improve," said Kim Brimhall, assistant professor at Binghamton University.
"Leader engagement, that is, a leader's ability to actively engage all organisational members in critical decision making, may foster a climate for inclusion and positive organizational outcomes, such as a climate for innovation, job satisfaction and perceived quality of care," said Brimhall.
The implications of these findings have applicability across national settings and for effective management of nonprofit organisations internationally, said Brimhall.