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Project Inclusion: an industry first in linking inclusion to improved performance and engagement

September 2020 – Can small acts of inclusion improve employee performance and engagement – and more importantly an overall sense of belonging and connection at work? That is one of the questions we wanted to answer with the implementation of Project Inclusion at Cenovus, an eight-week program that explores the correlation between inclusive leadership and changes in team connection, engagement and performance.

“Everyone wants to feel included – whether at work or in their personal lives,” says Morgan Craig-Broadwith, Specialist, Strategic Programs at Cenovus who developed Project Inclusion. “So, we wanted to provide a forum for our staff to have a discussion about diversity and inclusion, challenge each other in a respectful way, and get a better understanding of each other’s perspectives.”

Project Inclusion kicked off in April 2019 and is, to our knowledge, an industry first – we understand no other company has conducted their own internal social program to see the benefits of inclusion on productivity. So far, results have demonstrated that even the smallest acts of inclusion can improve employee engagement and productivity.

A change in participant attitudes and opinions was observed between the program pre-survey and post-survey, with metrics measuring individual performance improving six percent and metrics measuring team performance improving 11 percent. Among program participants we saw an eight percent increase in job satisfaction and a seven percent increase in feeling their opinions were encouraged and considered. As well, 90 percent of participants stated that when they’re more connected to their team, they do better work.

“A strong diversity and inclusion program should drive business value, but we know it can achieve more than that. It’s about creating a space for staff to be themselves and feel they belong - and we’re doing that,” says Krista Pell, Vice President Human Resources at Cenovus. “I’m extremely proud of the staff and leaders who are actively supporting this program, and to be a part of a company that values this kind of work.”