Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. In a nutshell, it’s about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin.
Diversity allows for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It means understanding one another by surpassing simple tolerance to ensure people truly value their differences. This allows us both to embrace and also to celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual and place positive value on diversity in the community and in the workforce.
Each individual in an organisation brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences. The power of diversity can only be unleashed and its benefits reaped when we recognise these differences and learn to respect and value each individual irrelevant of their background. At Global Diversity Practice, we help organisations to implement diversity policies that will help instil inclusion, respect and appreciation across the entire workforce.
Inclusion is an organisational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated. These differences could be self-evident, such as national origin, age, race and ethnicity, religion/belief, gender, marital status and socioeconomic status or they could be more inherent, such as educational background, training, sector experience, organisational tenure, even personality, such as introverts and extroverts.
Inclusion is a sense of belonging. Inclusive cultures make people feel respected and valued for who they are as an individual or group. People feel a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they can do their best at work. Inclusion often means a shift in an organisation’s mind-set and culture that has visible effects, such as participation in meetings, how offices are physically organised or access to particular facilities or information.
The process of inclusion engages each individual and makes people feel valued as being essential to the success of the organisation. Evidence shows that when people feel valued, they function at full capacity and feel part of the organisation’s mission. This culture shift creates higher performing organizations where motivation and morale soar.
In simple terms, diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.
Diversity and inclusion is a sizeable challenge for any organisation, especially those that have previously been less diverse and demonstrably exclusive. Treating everyone fairly to nurture talent, imbuing the corporate culture with true inclusiveness and equality while bringing new services to an increasingly discerning diverse public is complex.