“Diversity, or the state of being different, isn’t the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations.” — Bill Crawford, Psychologist
As HR managers, the words ‘diversity’, ‘inclusion’, and ‘equity’ form an indelible part of the workplace dictionary. And, it’s not very uncommon for these words to be used interchangeably too!
The truth of the matter is that while diversity and inclusion may be synchronized, they are yet ‘mutually exclusive’ objectives. And that without inclusion, diversity may as well be an empty ideal. Let’s take a moment to understand the difference between them.
Understanding the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion!
When we mention diversity, the first thought that comes to the mind is that of a socially diverse set of employees working collectively at one workplace. At this point of widespread globalization, a genuinely diverse workplace is one that is a melting pot of employees hailing from various backgrounds and is not just restricted to differences in culture and religion.
A diverse organization with a wide range of societies, dialects, and convictions has manifold benefits that positively impact the overall productivity and extend just as advantageously to the co-workers’ collective identity as well.
Different from diversity, making a culture where individuals are regarded and acknowledged – ‘’included’’ – requires another dimension of exertion that cannot be boxed in with diversity.
Simply put, inclusion is the level playing field on which everybody has an equal chance to chip in, and where different points of view and methodologies are not disregarded but discussed, considered, and actuated when they make business sense.
Beyond the Checkbox – This is What Inclusion is All About!
Inclusion isn’t a mere catchphrase or a fancy term that HR groups toss around for fun. It’s genuine, and it is essential whether your company is 80 percent Asian, 20 percent LGBTQ or 70 percent Female.
To illustrate, let’s take an example. Consider a lady belonging to an ethnic minority. In an inclusive culture, she can differ without being marked as an ethnic minority. Or let’s say a person with a physical disability works in a high-paced MNC. In an inclusively compliant workplace, he/she is not discriminated against and is offered an equal share of opportunities just as everyone else is.
In essence, inclusion is an ongoing contract – and it pays little mind to sexual orientation, ethnicity or root.
Now, more than any other point in time, a host of leading companies are under furious investigation because of their diversity and inclusion issues and numerous organizations are moving quickly to stretch out beyond the problems and address them correctly before they can become tough rows to hoe.
Why Companies Should Favour Inclusion Over Diversity…
While heads of the organization are eventually in charge of endorsing and laying the foundations of the working environment culture, HR representatives and colleagues can do their part in making it a progressively inclusive workplace by motivating better approaches to ‘draw in, team up and welcome’ others into their work groups.
There is a lot to gain from this, remember, the higher the diversity and inclusion you bring to your group, the more noteworthy your odds of discovering pivotal points of view and importantly, gaining from the nonconformist knowledge of those who’ve been exposed to perspectives other than your organizations.
So a counterbalance of inclusion and diversity should be the most important aspect to cover, right?
Not really, for you see in the argument for diversity versus inclusion, one has to say that inclusion trumps diversity in a host of different ways. Allow us to show you how…
Benefits Of Focusing On Inclusion More Than Diversity…
1. Happy Employees
At the point, when everybody feels included, the feeling of assurance goes up. This prompts higher fulfilment and strengthening inside the organization that will transmit all through.
Inventiveness ends up being the way of life at the workplace. In harmonized working environments, the working way of life will continue as before. However, in the case of an inclusively compliant workplace, there is a culture that advances new development and a different perspective on problems and solutions; it creates a situation of resourcefulness.
2. Improved Productivity
When you value the thoughts of your employees, they are progressively inspired to join forces and beat most other rival groups.
But that’s not all; inclusion means that everyone is treated equal and so the unifying feeling that comes along with this inclusivity, makes each group member ‘want’ to do better than before.
3. A More ‘Learned’ Workplace
By making an inclusive working environment, you are bringing an abundance of learning into the room; including the individuals who may in some way or another, not be a piece of the discussion.
New insights and new points of view will take into consideration an association to beat new difficulties and give unusual solutions a fighting chance of survival.
Without Inclusion, Diversity is Not As Effective…
It’s worth reiterating that diversity amounts to nothing if you exclude the opinions and individual perspectives of the majority of your workforce. Guarantee that you are implementing inclusion in conjunction with diversity to receive the full rewards. You won’t regret it, that’s for sure!
To understand the full contrast of how focusing on just diversity can impact your organization negatively, let’s take a look at the disadvantages that come from excluding inclusivity, shall we?
1. Diversity empowers typecasting
The demonstration of naming and grouping individuals empowers typecasting. Many supremacist concepts are built on the propensity of the human mind to make classifications – prompting negative conclusions, for example, Xenophobia and gender stereotyping, to give some cases.
2. Diversity focuses on differences
By definition, diversity is a marker of comparison, and now, has moved toward becoming – symbolically inaccurate – synonymous with “dissimilar” – apropos “a dissimilar person.”
Sadly, diversity underscores contrasts instead of celebrating shared characteristics – prompting resistance and hostility, while diminishing the probability of inclusion.
How You Can Create a More Inclusive Workplace
Now that you have understood the pros and cons of a diverse workplace sans inclusion let’s chalk up a plan on how you can get started with a perfectly balanced situation-
1. Start from the top
Your organization’s directors, VP level officials, and key officiating supervisors are the key people to impact and influence your D&I endeavours. So it makes absolute sense to get them involved first, making it obligatory if needed.
Prepare them, beginning with the rudiments about what inclusion is and why it is vital. Timely gatherings that talk about systems to encourage it in the organization will help you kick-start the process.
An aspect that you will need to cover is unintentional predisposition and biases, which usually happens when people make decisions about individuals dependent on their sexual orientation or religion, sometimes inadvertently and not recognizing that they’re doing it.
Your preparation in inclusion will enable the leadership to be mindful of this type of inclination and drive home the significance of demonstrating comprehensive conduct.
Showing inclusivity by giving undivided attention and empowering diverse perspectives at gatherings, audits, and meetings, and being open to criticism from their administrators will show they are committed to the cause of inclusivity. Besides, it will also illustrate that they are responsible leaders themselves, as will it bind the objective with their performance assessments.
2. Structure a committee
Consider shaping an inclusion committee containing a dedicated quorum of seven to ten influencers who are a couple of ranks beneath the centre directors, and VP levels. Cautiously select them for their enthusiasm and responsibility to the cause of fostering genuine inclusion.
In a perfect world, the committee ought to be associated with the objective setting around employment, nurturing and advancements of the diverse workforce. Further, they should be genuinely interested in tending to any employee commitment issues, especially among the marginalized groups.
The inclusion committee ought to be as assorted as it could be expected under the circumstances, with the elected individuals speaking for various ethnicities and sexes as well as various business capacities.
On the off chance that this is troublesome because of the absence of a diverse workforce in the top dimensions of your association, ensure the committee members find out about your organization’s diversity system from HR, or the D&I group.
Do remember that an inclusion committee board will draw on and work as a D&I instrument when it comes to functionality as a sounding board. Some of the time exchanges that emerge in these gatherings can even give an early cautioning of issues rising inside the organization – to ensure that the appropriate resource groups are tapped into.
3. Encourage cross-communication
Companies are usually organized in a way that a group of specialists gifted and experienced in one territory – sales, suppose, normally associate with interconnected groups, for example, marketing and advertising.
Now, it’s not likely that Sales would let somebody in on a thought to someone in Facilities. What could be a possible reason?
Implementing an inclusive culture would mean that you encourage cross-communication concerning ideas and brainwaves.
Foster people from different departments, say Sales, to approach someone from a tangent department, say Facilities, and see what questions or experiences that colleague in Facilities comes up with. It’s not fail-safe, but a possibility that this might be lead to a pleasant surprise!
Linear organizations are designed to function unilaterally not bi or multi-laterally, which is why employees usually stick to their related functionalities for interpersonal/ professional communication.
When you implement this concept, it will encourage t employees to move out of the typical comfort zone at work and begin to associate with individuals they don’t regularly collaborate with. The result – they become the ‘link,’ the ‘association’ with other departments within their typical everyday circle and induced inclusion become the unexpected gift no one anticipated.
For a well-rounded, and productive workplace, make sure you focus on both, diversity and inclusion!