While diversity, inclusion, and equity are often used interchangeably, each term has its own specific definition. Diversity encompasses various social identities including gender, race and religion while inclusion refers to people feeling valued and accepted within society; and equity refers to when systems take account of everyone’s differences equally.
To create a more inclusive workplace, it’s crucial to gain an understanding of these terms and their definitions. Let’s take a closer look at each term individually.
Definition of Diversity
Most people understand diversity on a basic level — as having different characteristics and experiences that distinguish us from one another. This may include race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation and religion – in addition to socioeconomic background, upbringing education marital status physical ability neurodiversity among many other things.
Equity refers to fair treatment and full participation by all members in communities and organizations, including those historically underrepresented or discriminated against. In practice, this means making sure they are given equal representation within groups or institutions as well as receiving all resources necessary for them to thrive within them. Focusing on inclusion means everyone feels included.
While diversity, equality, and inclusion all work in tandem towards creating a more equitable society, they should all be seen as distinct concepts. A diverse population does not guarantee inclusion and equity within an environment and vice versa – thus maintaining that diversity cannot always translate to inclusive environments.
Even when companies strive to be inclusive, they may still exclude people with disabilities or those from economically marginalized backgrounds. When considering inclusivity in a community it is vital that all aspects including socioeconomic status and mental health issues be taken into account.
At its core, diversity and inclusion require that a group recognize, affirm, and appreciate each person’s differences, from physical disabilities to underrepresented groups with development opportunities; all within an open-minded and collaborative environment. To achieve this balance in an organization or workplace setting, recognition should occur on multiple levels – individual level through group dynamics to company wide initiatives.
An inclusive workplace not only fosters tolerance but can also be more innovative and effective. A diverse team can bring fresh perspectives that help businesses meet the needs of broader customer bases.
Diversity, inclusion and belonging is an ever-evolving discussion; to keep up with it all requires a common vocabulary in order to avoid misinterpretation and miscommunication. With that goal in mind, McKinsey Global Institute has developed a glossary of terms to promote understanding and reduce barriers to dialogue.
Definition of Equity
As long as you’ve been involved with philanthropy, chances are you have heard mention of “equity” more frequently in foundation mission statements and plenary sessions at national conferences. Yet despite its growing prominence, no agreement exists on its definition and how best to achieve it; perhaps this comes as no surprise, since having an understandable definition would motivate more people towards equity-related work.
Equity can be seen as a form of justice that addresses existing inequalities. For instance, equality could be defined as being achieved when every student received equal resources in the classroom – however this ignores that students from certain communities may already face educational disadvantage due to factors like racism and income disparity.
Equity involves addressing inequalities between individuals, and providing them with the resources needed for reaching their full potential. Modifying curriculum and pedagogy so as to include more culturally sensitive and responsive teaching methods will enable all students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in classroom environments. This approach to equity is known as culturally responsive or equity-centered education and goes far beyond the models developed during the 1980s-1990s that only focused on students from lower socioeconomic status backgrounds. At its core, diversity education is a broadened version of inclusion (not disability rights), defined by UNESCO as the practice of welcoming students from diverse racial, ethnic and linguistic communities as well as gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, body type and neurodiversity into classroom and community learning processes.
An accurate understanding of the difference between diversity and inclusion is integral for creating effective workplace cultures. Companies that value inclusion should embrace differences of all kinds – racial/ethnic identities, age/generation differences, physical abilities or neurodiversity among others – by making everyone feel welcomed and empowered in all aspects of their life – not only within work settings.
Definition of Inclusion
Research by McKinsey & Company suggests that employing diverse employees can help businesses cultivate a more innovative culture. Diversity also improves employee morale and satisfaction levels while simultaneously increasing productivity and satisfaction levels. Companies which prioritize diversity and inclusion (DEI) typically experience faster revenue growth – likely because an inclusive workplace encourages employees to collaborate together on sharing ideas which leads to improved decision-making processes and more effective communication.
DEI initiatives can be difficult to successfully implement. Implementation requires an assessment of an organization’s demographics as well as forward-thinking strategies that foster cultural diversity. Recognizing and celebrating different holidays and traditions are also vital for creating an inclusive workplace environment.
An additional barrier to creating an inclusive workplace lies in dealing with unconscious biases, or stereotypes formed without conscious awareness, that can form about other people based on race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation. But they can be overcome through awareness training.
At its heart, inclusion is about making all employees feel valued and part of a team – this means giving each voice equal weight in discussions and avoiding tokenism – the appearance of diversity without actual participation from employees.
Reaching true diversity and inclusion takes time, but the payoff can be substantial. Companies who embrace diversity and inclusion should see an increase in revenues, customer reach and employee recruitment and retention.
Selecting appropriate vocabulary is key when it comes to diversity and inclusion initiatives, especially since using correct terminology ensures everyone understands your message without miscommunication or misunderstandings. One approach might be asking a group of individuals to write down their current understandings for each term on paper before compiling all responses and discussing how they relate – this way allowing you to establish a working definition for every term in use.
Definition of Belonging
Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) encompasses two elements, belonging and being. Belonging is defined as employee experience of feeling welcome and valued within a workplace culture. Feeling this way is vital in creating an environment that attracts and retains top talent; feeling this way also improves employee morale and performance – for instance if a new hire feels their contributions are welcomed and supported by teammates, they may feel more at ease sharing ideas or perspectives freely with teammates – this can be accomplished by cultivating an atmosphere which respects differences while celebrating differences while respecting each person’s unique perspectives – this can all be accomplished by cultivating an environment which respects each person’s unique perspectives while celebrating differences and respecting each person’s unique perspectives –
Diversity, inclusion and belonging may often be confused as synonymous terms; each have distinct and interdependent definitions. Diversity refers to the range of differences within a community or population while inclusion ensures everyone has equal access to opportunities that help them thrive; belonging refers to feeling accepted both individually and as members of an institution or society.
Belonging is difficult to measure, yet businesses must understand how their current practices impact employees’ feelings of belonging. To help make this more measurable, organizations may use confidential third-party employee surveys as an avenue for gathering feedback on how well they’re meeting diversity and inclusion goals in order to identify areas requiring further improvement while also celebrating successes.
Keep in mind that belonging is determined by many different factors, including social justice and power dynamics. People may feel excluded from communities due to social oppression, discrimination or denial of human rights; other causes of alienation include tokenization (where certain groups are invited into participation without meaningful contribution opportunities) or white supremacy, in which people classified as white feel superior over those from other racial/ethnic groups.
An effective company’s goal in creating a sense of belonging should be ensuring all employees feel safe and welcome at work, which can be accomplished through providing an environment in which everyone feels free to express their authentic selves while sharing unique perspectives with the rest of the team.