Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are two popular “buzzwords” in corporate and academic circles that seek to address long-standing attitudes that have often produced monocultures. Diversity, at its heart, seeks to respect and appreciate differences in ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation. Inclusion is the practice of focusing on the needs of the individual and making sure that someone is not discriminated against.
Diversity is the mixture of individuals in society, while inclusion is allowing that mixture to exist and work well together. Diversity recognizes that everyone is different. Some differences people are born with and cannot be changed. Other differences are adopted as part of our unique identity. Inclusion is the process whereby an environment is created that harnesses the power of those differences.
Inclusion forces people to abandon many long-held beliefs or practices. Far too often, a lack of inclusion has led to a lack of exposure to different ideas and perspectives. People bring many different ideas to the table; having a diverse group will greatly enhance the chances that a better idea will come forward.
Diversity means seeking out the best people for the job regardless of demographics. Inclusion is the best way to ensure that such people will contribute the most to making an organization better.