Many businesses these days want to prove they have diversity policies and are inclusive. However, does everyone understand what these different terms really mean in relation to the workplace? Or even in their social lives?
Before we get started, having an inclusive culture will help your business deliver better by not alienating staff or customers and by getting the most out of them. There is plenty of research around to show that there is a benefit to business.
However, it is just the right thing to do anyway and hopefully, you will also follow an agenda that promotes diversion and aids inclusion just because it is the right thing to do.
Diversity vs. Inclusion
One of the best quotes I have heard to present the difference between these two terms is:
Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance
This is a powerful analogy that we can apply to our workplace environment. We have implemented diversity when we have enabled people from diverse backgrounds (race, gender, religion, sexuality etc.) to be part of the workplace. The next step after that is inclusion, that is, we need to ensure they are participating in the workplace activities.
We would do this for a guest who felt out of place at a party. If they were sat all alone we would invite them to come and dance. Imagine the same ideas in your workplace.
We can push this analogy one step forward. If the music at the dance is all one particular style and tempo, we can easily alienate people who are not used to that style. They may be included and dance in an awkward and unnatural way - it is not what they are used to.
At a dance to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable we might want to mix up the music styles and change the tempos. Belonging is where everyone feels that it is acceptable to dance with their own style.
Again, we can see in the workplace how this analogy can be applied. Are we accepting different styles from people from different backgrounds so that we can make them feel like they belong in our organisation?
Finally we have equity
Who chooses the music at the party? Who invited the DJ? Behind the scenes, people are making decisions. To take the analogy to the final level, equity deals with how decisions are made and who has power in the workplace. Who gets promoted. Is everyone given equal chances and are opportunities provided to everyone?
Make people feel they are valued and that their opportunities in life are limitless!