Sep 11, 2022 11 min read
Embracing Differences, Enhancing lives
Diversity simply denotes the differences in gender, opinions, values, belief system, language, physical/ mental abilities which may possibly occur due to different family background, educational qualifications & also depend upon the region we belong to and the food habits. Diversity drives productivity, profits & gives competitive advantage.
Diversity & Inclusion are interconnected but to include both needs a different approach. Diversity is about creating a strong structure for enduring social & global well-being. Being inclusive is about being respectful of other people’s values & sensibilities.
Our brain categorizes Equity as a core need and when any core need is threatened our brain & body go into the stressful state, it starts to overthinks about the minor things. This severely affects our health, and may lead to severe chronic diseases due to continuous stressful workplace environment. It’s a great need of today to create an inclusive workplace environment. Increasing Diversity in a company makes a company more successful.
The word ‘Diversity’ is derived from the Latin word ‘diversitas’ which means facing both ways. However, in this modern era: Diversity encompasses the many ways people may differ, including gender, race, nationality, education, sexual orientation, style, functional expertise and a wide array of other characteristics and backgrounds that make a person unique.”
These unique differences and similarities that our employees, customers, suppliers and communities bring to our global business environment. This results in variation of working style and the outcomes person to person and also variation in the human capital profile of the organization.
We define inclusion as seeking out, valuing and using the knowledge and experiences of diverse employees for business benefit. Recognizing, understanding and respecting all the ways we differ, and leveraging those differences for competitive business advantage.
A competitive business advantage that we build and maintain by leveraging the awareness, understanding and appreciation of differences in the workplace to enable individuals, teams and businesses to perform at their full potential.
Creating a diverse and inclusive culture in an organization is much more than just having policies and programs. Diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people while Inclusion is about creating an environment that enables equal participation of all employees so that they feel valued - this has to resonate with each employee and reflect in the initiatives the company takes. It is imperative that Diversity & Inclusion flows top-down i.e., top management has to be its flagbearer.
How do we make sure diversity is inclusive?
Fostering mutual understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Creating a culture of speak-up and acceptance.
Providing necessary tools that promote engagement, learning and conversation.
Our intellect functions depending upon the trait with which we are identified in this world. If we are identified as weak/minority or being rejected then our brain functions in that way, more negatively & resulting in less productivity.
Since the world is evolving rapidly, so we need to embrace inclusion & diverse talent within the organization at a great pace. As the organizations includes employees from various parts of the world,
so there is a great possibility of different opinions, new creative & innovative ideas, that would help in development of the organizations. It’s time to utilize these differences to achieve our goals & reach greater heights. Here, the great role players are the managers who should treat their employees equal, provide equal opportunities to all and stop underestimating people based upon the past experiences.
I would like to state an example here: While preparing food, the role of various ingredients is different, like as soon as the mustard seeds are put in hot oil, they make crackling sound, unlikely salt is added just for taste, turmeric adds color to the food, other spices add hotness to the food & sugar gives a sweet sensation. However, the goal of all the ingredients is common, that is to make the food delicious.
Similarly, we are all different, we have different strength & weaknesses and different ways of doing things, there is great diversity in our workplace. We shouldn’t compare ourself with others & shouldn’t be compared either, we are all unique & have unique talents. Our goal should be common that is to make our organization reach greater heights. This is only & only possible if we become inclusive like those various ingredients.
Diversity v/s Inclusion
In various studies, “Inclusion refers to a cultural and environmental feeling of belonging. It can be assessed as the extent to which employees are valued, respected, accepted and encouraged to fully participate in the organization.” Contrary to what some may assume, diversity doesn’t necessarily imply inclusion. Part of the problem is that ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case.” For example, while adding women to the board or promoting more people of color might enhance diversity, it doesn’t necessarily change the culture of the organization or ensure that these underrepresented groups will feel fully included and valued. Diversity speaks to who is on the team, but inclusion focuses on who is really in the game. Sometimes just for the sake of formality, in order to create diverse environment, organisations recruit people from various communities however while working in a team, they are often treated as less competent, still are out of league.
In short, diversity in these cases may be seen as an attempt at a band aid or quick fix for systemic challenges that have not been fundamentally addressed. Inclusion is quite harder to achieve and measure because it’s more about a mindset. Indeed, some organizations make the mistake of settling for checking the box of diversity without making the significant commitment to achieving true inclusion. They do so at their own peril as this short-sighted approach can create enhanced levels of organizational tension, frustration and disappointment.
Given the emergence of a new rhetoric in the field of diversity, which replaces the term ‘diversity’ with the term ‘inclusion’. There is a conceptual distinction between the concepts of diversity and inclusion as well as the attributes that support each in organizations. However, the results also suggest that the management of diversity is more complex. Because there is a critical difference between merely having diversity in an organization’s workforce and developing the organizational capacity to leverage diversity as a resource. Diversity not only exists in organizations but the potential individual and organizational advantages of diversity are maximized. Thus, by highlighting the similarities and differences between diversity and inclusion in organizations, people are better positioned to create, understand and support changes needed to both promote equality for historically disadvantaged groups as well as create organizations in which all employees can utilize their full portfolio of skills and talents.
“If diversity is a sprint, inclusion is a marathon. Each requires different training, conditioning and commitment.”
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