Simply put, Diversity and Inclusion means that all members of a workforce should respect each other’s cultural and social backgrounds, thoughts and ideas, religious and political beliefs, and gender identities. Diversity and Inclusion means that members of a team should constantly redistribute power amongst each other and take everyone’s viewpoints into consideration.
The terms ‘Diversity’ and ‘Inclusion’ do not have a similar definition. Diversity within a team means that a particular workforce represents and accommodates people from all sections of society. It means that a group of employees consists of members who belong to different races, social classes, and genders. The members of a diverse group may have different value-systems and beliefs. They may have different abilities and shortcomings and may know multiple languages. They may have different nationalities and gender identities. Sometimes, the beliefs and value-systems within a diverse group could clash. However, Diversity and Inclusion means that the members of a group learn to accept each other despite their differences and be respectful towards all its members.
Inclusion is the process of ensuring that all members of a diverse group feel they are justly and equally represented. It means that the group members’ internal rules and norms are such that all members feel a sense of belonging. It involves empathizing with co-workers, being non-judgmental, being a good listener, and considering everyone’s ideas and believing all ideas have worth. For example, inclusion means having a “my view, and…” attitude to include everyone’s opinions rather than saying “either this view or that one”. It involves recognizing and calling out unconscious biases within a group, having difficult conversations when the group’s members are in conflict, and amplifying the voices of those who raise issues. Inclusion means to make sure that all members within a diverse team are equally represented.
An umbrella term under Diversity and Inclusion is Equity. It differs from the terms “diversity” and “inclusion” since it focuses on equality amongst team members. Equity means that all members of a group receive fair and equal treatment, have an equal say within group decisions, and have their voices heard in an unbiased manner. It involves the redistribution of power to ensure everyone gets an equal opportunity and a fair chance at succeeding in their work within an organization. It also involves actively identifying and breaking down any barriers to equal treatment which may have pre-existed within an organization.
5 Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion within an organization:
- Bigger talent pool – According to Glassdoor and Deloitte Insights, ‘67 percent of job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies, accepting job offers, and staying on board’. Diverse and Inclusive companies will benefit from a larger number of potential employees to choose from.
- New perspectives – If a company is diverse, it benefits from a wider range of viewpoints, perspectives, and cultural knowledge.
- Improved teamwork – If a company practices inclusion and equity, it will enable its employees to function better as a team and have better group cohesion. Its employees will also feel comfortable and confident enough to reach their full potential in their work.
- Increased employee engagement – Employees who feel their diverse backgrounds are being treated fairly and equally are more likely to remain loyal to the company, be happier to participate in teamwork, and report higher employee satisfaction.
- Reputation – If a company’s employees report being treated fairly and with inclusivity, it will gain popularity with the public.
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