When we talk about work environment and work culture there still needs to be a level of carefulness and intentionality when we talk about equality for all members of the team. With a focus on diversity and inclusion leaders are taking an active approach to remove policy and procedural barriers to create a workplace that ensures that every employee has equal access to opportunities and support within the company.

The purpose of diversity and inclusion is to create an atmosphere of fairness and equity in the workplace for all employees regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age. With a goal of creating an inclusive workplace for all members within the organization, it’s important that policies and procedures are regularly reviewed and amended to create an atmosphere of equity for all.

Companies that have diversity and inclusion policies and strategies in place have a more diverse pool of employees with talents and differing cultural backgrounds. These organizations are more creative and supportive of different voices, thus attracting the top talent in any industry.

What’s the Difference Between Diversity & Inclusion?

A 2018 Gallup study defined diversity as the representation of, “the full spectrum of human demographic differences — race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status or physical disability.” Other characteristics could include their lifestyle, personality, family composition and education.

With an active focus of having a diverse workforce, management should keep track of the various demographic make-up of each department, role, and level. With this approach leaders can design an employee experience that continually promotes performance for a multigenerational, multiracial, and multibackground workforce.

We know diversity can make the team roster multifaceted, but it won’t mean much if there isn’t a culture and attitude that welcomes diverse individuals into a safe space.

Inclusion refers to a cultural and environmental feeling of belonging.

When an organization is inclusive, employees will feel safe to share their opinions, perspectives, and insights without fear of judgment or backlash. Because the workplace demonstrates appreciation, value, and respect for all employees, encouraging them to fully participate in the organization as their true and authentic selves.

While diversity and inclusion are inherently different, if we know what makes them different, then we know how interconnected they truly are. We can’t have one without the other to have meaningful outcomes.

The Harvard Business Review article “Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion” stated:

“In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen.”

So, it’s true that diversity and inclusion work together to affect outcomes.

If you want your organization to be successful at fostering a workplace of diversity inclusion management needs to do these three things.

First, show your employees that they are respected. Eliminate harassment and other barriers that could undermine their individual authority and productivity.

Second, employees need to know that their strengths are valued. Invest in trainings and employee development to build trust and relationships between the worker and the organization.

Third, leaders need to build trust. Just wanting a diverse workforce isn’t enough. Policies, procedures, mission, and value statements need to be clearly defined to give clear intentions. If employees are to feel safe, the initiatives must start at the top and be intentionally practiced by management and those in leadership positions.