What is the difference?
Diversity is about the WHAT
The combination of things that form your workplace such as:
Inclusion is about the HOW
How your work environment and culture enables all employees to participate and thrive to the best of their abilities.
The importance of knowing the difference
Because so many businesses believe the two definitions to be interchangeable, it can lead to focusing on just one of these.
For example, you might look at your workforce and think about hiring people from difference ethnic origins to be more DIVERSE but, if your workplace is not INCLUSIVE and does not embrace different perspectives or characteristics then you will actually fail in your plan to improve diversity.
To be inclusive, in this example, would require EVERYONE’S opinion and ideas to be valued and recognised regardless of any diversity.
If they feel included then they will be more likely to show you their best work and advance further within the company.
If they don’t feel included then you risk alienating different individuals leading to problems such as stress or employees taking time off work in order simply because they don’t feel comfortable working within the workplace environment.
Benefits to your business
Bigger talent pool
Let’s say you made the decision that your business will only hire males currently living in the UK and anyone else who applies will automatically be rejected. Before you even get down to condensing that list down further, you’ve already cut out half the population that could potentially apply.
But, the reality is, not everyone in the UK is going to apply to work at your company.
In order for your business to thrive, you need to give it the best possible chance of finding the most qualified people for the jobs and so, the more diversity you have (at the interview stages and within the workplace), the more likely you are to find your dream candidate.
As the saying goes: ‘Two heads are better than one’.
When it comes to working together, your business will have a much better chance of coming up with ideas with a more diverse group.
If you wanted to create an ad campaign that was aimed at women but your entire team was made up of only men then you may have a more difficult time in putting ideas together.
Whoever your target audience is, those that fit within that same audience will (more than not) but the best people to ask for opinions and ideas from as they have first-hand experience.
Profits and Losses
According to Perkbox, it is estimated that disengaged employees are costing the UK economy £340 billion every year in lost training and recruitment costs, sick days, productivity, creativity and innovation.
Alternatively, Harvard Business Review found that more diverse companies report 19 percent higher revenue.
You do the math.
What can my business do to improve on our diversity and inclusion?
1) Look at your hiring process
This is where all your problems begin so if you can’t get this stage right then your business cannot hope to improve in this area. So, if you seem to be hiring the same time of people again and again and again then you need to change this.
You can either make a point of ruling out anyone that fits the profile that you would usually opt for or you could try using an application or an extension to help you out. One example of this is ‘Unbiasify’ which is a Google Chrome extension which allows users to remove names and photos from different social media sites including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
2) Hire diversity / inclusivity managers
These managers will have a responsibility to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive. This can include putting on voluntary training classes or workshops to help spread the message across the workforce.
If you’re all on the same wavelength when it comes to diversity and inclusion, the quicker ideas can be implemented and positive changes can begin to be seen.
3) Listen to your employees
Before you can expect to improve on your current situation, you need to hear it from the people that make your business run: your employees. If they’re not happy with their work environment then you’ll soon start to see it in terms of progress and profits.
You have multiple options in going about asking them. You could either arrange face-to-face conversations where inclusivity managers speak to each member of staff (individually or in a group or both).
However, some people don’t wish to voice their opinion with their identity attached to it for fear of any potential repercussions. So, the other option might be to create an anonymous online survey / feedback form in which employees can voice their opinions and then send it back without their name.