We often hear the terms diversity and inclusion used together. While they do go hand in hand, they're two different concepts. Think of diversity as the "what." And inclusion as the "how."
Diversity is broadly defined as any quality or characteristic used to differentiate a person or group from one another. It refers to a whole spectrum of human differences.
Diversity encompasses internal traits that cannot be changed, such as race, age, national origin, or ethnicity.
It also includes external traits that can be changed, like interests, education, and appearance.
Here are some examples:
A diverse workforce includes employees with a wide variety of skills, education, experiences, personality traits, and belief systems.
Simply put, diversity is the "mix." It's the "who" or "what" that makes up your workforce.
For a deeper dive on diversity, click here.
If you have a diverse workforce, that's great. But don't stop there. Having a diverse workforce is only half of the equation, and by itself doesn't have much of an impact on the workforce. Employees also need to feel included and accepted for who they are. Unhappy employees will create low morale, low productivity, and high turnover rates.
Your workforce must be inclusive as well as diverse. You can hire for diversity, but what happens when your employees come to work? What is their experience? This brings us to inclusion, the culture that enables your diverse workforce to thrive.
FACT: Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to yield higher revenues.
Inclusion is broadly defined as a state of including or of being included within a group or structure. For our purposes, inclusion refers to how employees are treated by their employer and fellow employees at work. An inclusive workplace is based on respect and understanding and provides equal access to opportunities and resources for everyone.
Inclusive organizations champion employee differences. Employees are respected and appreciated as valuable members of the organization and are encouraged to share their opinions. Policies, procedures, and guidelines are all formulated with inclusion in mind. There is a real sense of belonging, and employees feel included and work together well. No one is left out.
Inclusion is about more than hiring people for their differences. It's about harnessing all their unique talents, skills, and perspectives to achieve organizational goals. And it's about making sure all employees feel included. And that they have access to the tools, training, and support needed to be successful and reach their full potential.
Inclusive companies work hard to give employees a sense of belonging and ensure they feel safe and comfortable bringing their full selves to work. They encourage employees to share their opinions. They provide opportunities for all employees to make significant contributions to the business and participate in the organization's success.
Who we are
Where we are from
How we think
What we do
Why we're here
Feeling valued and respected
Bringing your whole self to work
Being able to share your ideas
Having your voice heard
It's possible to have a diverse workforce but not an inclusive workplace. Business success needs both.
A diverse workforce has employees that bring a wider range of talent, skills, and perspectives, translating to faster and improved problem-solving. Employees are more likely to understand the needs of your customer base and innovate products to meet those needs. However, they will not perform to the best of their abilities if they do not feel appreciated and valued.
When employees are valued and respected, they feel included and a part of the team. In turn, they're more loyal, engaged, and happier. Employees who enjoy their jobs, trust their employers and feel accepted as individuals are more productive and innovative. They're free to do their best work.
Studies have found that diverse workplaces promote higher creativity, productivity, and profitability, just to name a few!
Remember: Employees need to feel safe to bring their whole, unique selves to work. Ensure your organization has policies and procedures to provide all potential and existing employees equal opportunities throughout the entire employee lifecycle.
Having a diverse workforce is only half the equation. Everyone you hire should feel valued and included. Both candidates and employees should be allowed to be their authentic selves.
Both diversity and inclusion are critical for business success. When employees are comfortable at work, happy, and contributing – that's when the magic happens.
Additional Resources for diversity and inclusion: