👏 We’re glad you asked.
The difference between “diversity” and “inclusion” isn’t immediately obvious, but the nuance between the two is incredibly important.
We love this quote from Damien Campbell-Hooper, Chief Diversity Officer at Zoom, that pretty succinctly sums it up:
Inclusion describes how well your organization brings out the best in your people, accounting for different viewpoints, experiences, and working styles.
Inclusion is sometimes described as a sense of belonging. It’s how an organization welcomes, involves and empowers everyone on a team to do their best and be successful.
It’s by nature much trickier to measure than diversity — it’s really something that’s felt, not seen, and is baked into a team’s culture.
It’s worth bearing in mind that diversity is nothing without inclusion. ☝️ You won’t reap the benefits of diversity if not everyone can bring their whole selves to work, if not everyone’s voice is heard.
And, inclusion isn’t just about “underrepresented groups” — it’s about everyone (and we really mean everyone — even those who typically enjoy privileges or positions of power) feeling like they can bring their whole selves to work.
So what is inclusion in practice? It’s a combination of values that comes through in both subtle and overt ways:
⚖️ Fairness: at the most basic level, respect and fair practices for all
🥰 Belonging: making an effort to show everyone that they’re valued and welcome at the table
⛑️ Safety: a team environment of openness where people feel psychologically safe to be their authentic selves
💪🏽 Empowerment: a culture where people are encouraged to make decisions, speak up, grow and fulfil their potential; where the business not just supports development but actively works to raise aspirations
📺 Watch this
What does exclusion look like? This video shows us examples of how it’s not just about labels and demographics:
💡 Points that gave us pause
- ⏯️ It’s the annoyance when people presume I am less committed to my family life, because I am a man (0:41 – 0:46)
- ⏯️ It’s the anxiety of sharing my personal life, because most people around me are heterosexual (0:59 – 1:04)
- ⏯️ It’s the awkwardness when I get mistaken for someone else of the same ethnicity (1:08 – 1:13)
📊 The business case for inclusion
The benefits of an inclusive culture where everyone is embraced for their uniqueness and individuality as a human being are multiple:
- Team performance improves by 50% when everyone feels included
- Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time
- Decisions made and executed by diverse teams deliver 60% better results
… and the list goes on.
At the end of the day, exclusion affects us all and we all have a part to play in working to build up an inclusive culture at work.
. . .
The bottom line?
Inclusion describes how well your organization brings out the best in your people, accounting for different viewpoints, experiences, and working styles. It is comprised of four key ingredients: fairness, belonging, psychological safety, and empowerment. At its heart, inclusion is about acceptance and embracing the myriad differences in each of us that make us who we are.
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