Diversity and Inclusion Highlighted
Most companies and organizations today attempt to honor the norms of Equity, Engagement, Positive Culture, Belonging and Fairness. But what about diversity and inclusion?
A 2018 Gallup report (Brownlee, 2019) defines diversity as 'the full spectrum of human differences.' Diversity may run the gamut of issues such as age, gender, disability, ethnic background or not so obvious issues like socio-economic status and marital status. Another definition (Billingsley, Coca-Cola Company) defines diversity as 'the differences you can see or describe in people.' This means workplace diversity refers to having 'a workplace with different types of people coming from different backgrounds.' It is expected that our workplaces reflect our communities.
The 2018 Gallup report further describes inclusion as 'the cultural and environmental feeling of belonging.' The concept of 'belonging' is assumed as the 'extent to which employees are valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate in the organization.'
Very often diversity and inclusion are discussed together when they are actually two different concepts. When the organization hires more women to its workforce, this represents greater diversity and representation, but we cannot assess the culture of the workplace nor ensure that underrepresented groups feel included and valued. Without inclusion the significant association that attracts diverse expertise, encourages participation, fosters innovation and job growth will not happen.
If a colleague is bullied at work, that person will be afraid to speak up, to ask questions and to make suggestions without the fear of retribution. Inclusion is then paramount to decreasing acts of bullying.
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