What are diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion in the workspace refer to how a group of unique individuals work together as a cohesive unit. Diverse teams often consist of team members who have different perspectives, needs, and skills.
Companies that promote diversity and inclusion often outpace competitors since their employees feel valued, motivated, and are eager to succeed.
But diversity and inclusion go beyond programs, headcounts, and workplace policies – it’s about building a transparent work environment where employees can be their authentic selves and trust the company.
This blog post will cover everything you need to know about workplace diversity and inclusion.
What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Put simply, diversity in the workplace refers to a work environment that employees people from different demographics. For example, different races, skills, genders, backgrounds, and interests.
Additionally, diversity encompasses everything that makes individuals different from one another. As a result, it goes beyond general factors like gender, race, age, and more.
In other words, diverse work environments reflect the society they operate in.
Companies that prioritize diversity can create more tolerant, accepting, and welcoming onboarding processes and overall work environment.
Although diversity and inclusion are often used interchangeably, inclusion is quite different from diversity.
SHRM defines inclusion as the ability of a work environment to treat its employees fairly, equally, and respectfully. This way, individuals get equal access to resources and opportunities.
Moreover, inclusion allows marginalized groups to feel equal and accepted in the workplace. For example, marginalized genders, races, and those with any physical or mental disability will be given equal opportunities to succeed in the workplace.
What is the difference between diversity & inclusion?
Although diversity and inclusion are definitely interconnected, these two terms are far from interchangeable.
Diversity is about representation and how well different groups of people integrate and are valued in a work environment. This way, people with different genders, races, nationalities, sexual orientations, and identities are present in the work environment.
When it comes to inclusion, companies need to work towards making the work environment inclusive, not only diverse.
As a result, a company can try its best to “check all the boxes” for diversity by recruiting people based on surface characteristics like gender diversity and ethnicity. But if these employees feel ostracized or “othered” in the work environment, then the workplace isn’t truly inclusive.
Companies can create an inclusive workplace by creating employee resources groups and by hosting information sessions that educate employees and managers about the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Why is diversity & inclusion in the workplace Important?
Here are four benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace:
- Increases profitability: Statistically, companies that invest in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace are more profitable and experience higher revenue. In fact, a 2015 McKinsey report found that highly diverse organizations were 35% more likely to exceed median earnings in their industry.
- Improves company culture and image: Companies that prioritize hiring, welcoming, and promoting unique employees from different backgrounds are more likely to create a productive, collaborative, and inclusive workplace. This, in turn, also impacts how employees, investors, and the general public view the company.
- Retains and attracts talent: Inclusive and diverse workplaces appear more attractive to job seekers. As a result, workplace culture plays a major deciding factor for potential employees. Moreover, BetterUp found that employees with the highest levels of belonging are 34% more likely to stay at their jobs than those with low levels of belonging.
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