Diversity vs. Inclusion
As a manager, you know that having a diverse team is important to your success. But do you put the same focus on inclusion? The two terms are sometimes confused, but they’re different. Diversity refers to differences among people – the characteristics and experiences that make them unique. Inclusion is taking action to value, respect, and support those differences. It’s about ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to pursue their full professional potential.
How can diversity and inclusion benefit my company?
When many people think of diversity, they think of those things that are readily visible – gender, age, race, visible disabilities, or body size, for example. But there are diversities that aren’t easily seen, too. These include things such as sexual orientation, upbringing, invisible disabilities, neurodiversity, immigration status or socio-economic background. Each of these things that makes us different also shapes our perspectives and values. So, building an organization that is diverse on all levels enriches the pool of ideas and talent, which drives creativity and innovation.
How can I make my workplace more inclusive?
If you’re a manager convinced that being more inclusive would benefit your staff and organization, you might be wondering how you can bring its benefits home. Here are a few strategies from Foundr that might help you make this change in your group:
- Give everyone a voice. Listen to everyone, no matter their position. Surveys and an open door policy allow people to speak open and honestly.
- Words matter. Intentionally choose inclusive words. Use the pronouns that employees identify with and get rid of words like “salesman”.
- Build safe places for all. Making your space accessible makes it more inclusive. Go beyond what’s required by law – include nursing rooms, gender-neutral bathrooms, quiet spaces, and undisturbed time.
- Be intentional. Who you hire is important. If you only hire people you think will fit in, you won’t encourage diversity.
- Add inclusive holidays. Add holidays that reflect different cultures and beliefs. If that isn’t possible, provide floating holidays that let employees choose the days that are important to them.
- Encourage employee interest groups. A recent survey on Monster.com showed that younger workers are more likely to want to work at a diverse workplace and lean toward companies that demonstrate that through employee interest groups.
- Have trainings and events. Educate your staff on how inclusivity helps the company and them. And have some fun events to celebrate the diversity of your staff.
Honoring the diversity of your team and ensuring everyone feels included will help to make your business a place where employees want to work. Their ideas will help your company grow.