Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential concepts in the workplace; however, their meaning can often be misconstrued.
Diversity encompasses differences, equity represents equal access and inclusion fosters a sense of belongingness.
Companies can achieve diversity through hiring practices that address unconscious bias, using blind resumes and mentoring programs, and creating inclusive job descriptions; but to truly achieve equity they must address structural inequalities.
What is diversity?
Diversity is a broad concept, covering every way in which individuals differ. This can include race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity/sexual orientation/orientation/gender expression/sexual orientation orientation; age; socioeconomic status national origin language disability disability political perspective etc. Diversity also refers to the range of ideas perspectives and values brought into the workplace from people. If diversity leads to more effective teams with creative minds it can be seen as beneficial; otherwise it could pose serious problems. In order for diversity to lead to true inclusion it needs to be supported by equity and belonging – otherwise diversity itself could cause division.
Equity refers to fair and equal treatment. A key aspect of diversity, equity requires companies to develop and implement equitable practices at all levels of their organization – from talent screening and hiring decisions through to workplace standards and workplace expectations. For this initiative to succeed and have lasting effects it must become part of their culture and values; otherwise it will likely fail and have little lasting benefit.
Inclusion refers to employees feeling like they belong in their workplace, which can be affected by many factors such as team diversity and how well-received employees’ ideas are. Furthermore, inclusion depends on whether employees are treated with dignity and respect despite differences; microaggressions (small slights based on unconscious biases) can negatively influence inclusion.
Accomplishing true inclusion takes time and commitment from organizations, especially as many may struggle with biases that hinder recruitment or hiring practices. The key is making it a top priority and prioritizing building diverse and inclusive teams. Keep a close watch on your numbers, assessing progress over time. Findem’s Diversity Dashboard can assist your company in monitoring how diverse its workforce is and ensure that underrepresented groups are receiving representation in leadership roles, departments and the larger organization. If your numbers aren’t improving, your efforts likely require adjustment or redirection. Our research shows that solely focusing on diversity without also considering equity can result in “tokenism”, with only an illusion of inclusion being achieved.
What is equity?
Inclusion refers to the sense of belonging and value one gains by participating in certain environments, like work. In the workplace, this means making sure employees feel welcome by making sure their perspectives are valued by management; initiatives like setting up diversity and inclusion committees, implementing training programs and creating consistent employee feedback processes may all play a part.
Equity refers to creating equal opportunities for everyone in any context, whether this involves altering policies and practices in order to address inequalities that result from factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age disability religion political perspectives among others. An organization could achieve equity in its hiring practices by interviewing applicants from diverse backgrounds while its salary structures ensure women are well represented at senior management levels.
Diversity and equity are equally essential, yet it’s vitally important to distinguish their meanings. Equality refers to treating everyone equally; on the other hand, equity involves addressing structural inequalities which disadvantage certain groups while benefitting others – for instance in an apple tree illustration where one boy gets all of the fallen apples while his counterpart must climb over a fence to collect his.
As more organizations embrace DEI, it’s crucial that they don’t confuse diversity for equality. Even if a company boasts of having one of the most diverse workforces ever assembled, if there remain disparities between gender or minority group workers then DEI doesn’t guarantee fairness.
As individuals and organizations, it’s our collective responsibility to ensure everyone has equal chances at a fulfilling life. That’s why it’s crucial that we all understand what diversity, equity and inclusion means – so that together we can all work toward building a better tomorrow.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is the “secret sauce” to making any diverse workplace more productive and engaging, beyond simply hiring individuals with differing appearances; rather it requires creating an inclusive workplace culture of respect and support where all employees feel like they belong. Furthermore, inclusion efforts must address any hidden layers of bias which prevent people from reaching their full potential regardless of race/ethnic identity, gender sexual orientation socioeconomic status language (dis)abilities age etc.
McKinsey Global Institute research shows that employee engagement is closely associated with an employee’s perception of inclusion. When employees don’t feel included at work, they may forgo participating in work-related activities and don’t form strong ties to their employer – something which has negative repercussions for recruitment and retention efforts at companies.
UNESCO has defined inclusion in education as a wide array of initiatives that go beyond accommodating students with special needs or removing any impediments to learning, such as providing schools more relevant to local cultures and customs and guaranteeing access to high-quality education regardless of social or economic background for all children, while taking into account unique educational needs of marginalized groups such as religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, girls living rural populations HIV/AIDS patients or disabled people.
An organization that prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will make an effort to diversify candidate pools, promote from within, use inclusive hiring practices such as blind resumes that don’t reveal information that could reveal race or other personal traits, as well as offer training programs to educate employees about DEI and the risks that come from unconscious bias and microaggressions in the workplace.
Companies that invest in diversity, equity and inclusion will experience tangible business advantages – whether through increased innovation or improved customer outreach. But in order to reap these rewards effectively, organizations require an inclusive strategy with both leadership and operational oversight oversight – this means leaders should demonstrate their dedication by remaining visible and vocal about these issues, setting clear priorities within the organization that adhere to these priorities and accepting feedback on how to improve as leaders.
What is the connection between diversity and equity?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three principles many companies strive to incorporate into their culture. Although they may often be used interchangeably, each term has specific definitions and goals; understanding them fully is vital in creating an inclusive workplace environment.
Diversity refers to differences among people that include race, gender, age, religion, socioeconomic status, sex and sexual orientation. Diversity also encompasses traits resulting from genetics or environment such as neurodiversity or physical disability – the general aim being that all should be treated fairly and with dignity regardless of any differences between them.
Equity can be defined as the equitable distribution of resources and opportunities across communities, taking into account any existing disparities. Achieving equity requires adopting an holistic approach to how companies operate by amending policies and practices to give each employee equal chances at success – for instance ensuring work is evenly distributed among teams or providing career development initiatives and supporting meritocracy initiatives.
Inclusion is the final element in this equation and refers to how much a person feels like they belong in any setting. It can depend on many factors, including their marginalized group status, cultural acceptance levels and workplace expectations of them as individuals. The goal of inclusion should be for every employee to feel like they have a place within the company while being valued for who they are as an individual.
Diversity within a workforce is one of the best ways to foster a sense of inclusion among employees, for many reasons ranging from enhanced decision-making and higher productivity to increased innovation and creativity. A recent study concluded that companies with greater gender diversity saw superior financial results compared with those without as much diversity.
Though some may question the value of diversity in the workplace, studies demonstrate its vital significance. By creating and implementing an effective DEI program, businesses can set themselves up for future success.