What is diversity & inclusion?
The concepts of diversity and inclusion (D&I) go hand in hand. Diversity in the workplace is about the differences in background, gender and ethnicity of employees, among others. And inclusion is about how the organization deals with those differences. Do people of all different backgrounds feel comfortable, are they challenged to the same degree, and is there mutual respect for each other? So an inclusive organization enables diversity.
Diversity and inclusion are hot topics on the management agenda. But D&I is more than policies, programs or staffing. In fact, research shows that employers who embrace and properly manage diversity can outperform their competitors.
Diversity and inclusion are different concepts
Although diversity and inclusion are interrelated, the concepts are not interchangeable. Diversity is about representation or the composition of an entity. Inclusion is about how well the contributions, presence and perspectives of different groups of people are valued and integrated into an environment.
An environment in which many different genders, races, nationalities and sexual orientations and identities are present, but in which only the perspectives of certain groups are valued or have any authority or influence, can be diverse, but not inclusive.
What is diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
A diverse and inclusive workplace ensures that everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do for the organization, feels equally engaged and supported in all areas of the workplace. The “all areas” section is important.
Do you prioritize diversity in your recruitment, in each of your departments and in your leadership? Or do you have a workplace where 50% of your employees are women, but 0% of your female employees are managers? Do you generally have a good representation of employees from different backgrounds, but are they all in the same department?
These type of questions reveal true diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Why is diversity and inclusion in the workplace important?
Research has shown many benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace. We mention some of them here.
The benefits of a diverse workforce include:
- Teams are more productive and deliver higher quality output;
- Teams make better decisions;
- Teams can better solve complex problems;
- Teams are more innovative.
The benefits of an inclusive climate include:
- Guarantee of sustainably better diversity;
- Prerequisite for being a good employer: “the right thing to do”.
- Greater attractiveness as an employer in an increasingly tight labor market;
- ‘License to operate’: having D&I in order is increasingly becoming an obligation under increasing pressure from ESG reporting requirements.
Diversity & Inclusion Scan
Our Diversity & Inclusion Scan measures the level of inclusion within your organization and shows you how you can improve it. Download the product sheet to learn more.