You want your employees to stick around and do well? Invest in inclusive leadership and embeddedness, study suggests

Dr. Debjani GhoshAn important challenge leaders of contemporary business organizations face is retaining and motivating employees for high performance. Unhappy and demotivated employees are less likely to be around longer, and if they are, they are less likely to be productive. This challenge can be more pronounced in demographically diverse workplaces. So, how can managers retain and motivate their employees for better performance?

Dr. Jorge GonzalezA recent publication by our own Dr. Debjani Ghosh (Lecturer) and Dr. Jorge Gonzalez (Chair and Professor), both of the Department of Management, suggests that one way to do this is by promoting inclusive leadership and organizational embeddedness. Employees’ job embeddedness consists of three dimensions: the links they have to the organization (social connection), their perceived fit to the workplace in terms of their values and skills, and the sacrifices they may have to make if they decide to leave the organization. Employees who score higher in these dimensions are considered well embedded in their organizations. However, according to the authors, the level of embeddedness may vary among employees from diverse backgrounds and organizational settings. The job embeddedness process for organizations that are monolithic (mostly composed of the dominant social group) is likely to be different from that of pluralistic and multicultural organizational settings with employees from both dominant and marginalized social groups. Depending on the organizational context, the authors argue, it might take employees longer or shorter to be effectively embedded in the organization.

So how to support better embeddedness for all employees? The authors emphasize the important role of leaders, particularly inclusive leadership. According to the authors, “leaders interested in retention should understand how employees from distinct social groups develop organizational links, fit, and sacrifice depending on the degree of diversity and inclusion in their organizations. Leaders should pay attention to diversity-related obstacles, intergroup relations problems, and other hurdles to adapt their roles and behaviours to the diversity and needs of their organizations.”

The paper was co-authored with Professor Tomoki Sekiguchi from Kyoto University and was published in the Journal of Management Studies, which is a prestigious journal included in the global Financial Times Top 50 journal list.