Diversity and inclusion are commonly heard terms today. Having a more inclusive and diverse workforce is not only appealing from a moral point of view but also provides the organization with a diverse range of ideas, perspectives, and solutions. Before getting to know why inclusivity and diversity are so important in a workplace, we must know what these terms mean.
Diversity: Diversity refers to the variation in ethnic, racial, geographic, socioeconomic, and professional backgrounds. This includes variety and differences in opinions, beliefs (religious, political, or cultural), values, ethics, morals, norms, and sexual orientations. Generally, diversity can be divided into four types. They are; internal diversity, external diversity, organizational diversity, and worldview diversity.
Internal diversity: internal diversity refers to the character traits that a person is born into and is unable to change. Internal diversity includes characteristics like race, ethnicity, age, mental and physical ability, nationality, cultural identity, etc.
External diversity: External diversity is the characteristic traits that also are associated with a person, but these are the characteristics that have been adopted by the person and have or can be changed over time. External diversity includes personal appearance, hobbies, and interests, citizenship, religious beliefs, education, etc.
Organizational diversity: Organizational diversity, or functional diversity refers to the differences between one employee and the other in a workplace. The different subsets under organizational diversity are; status of management, the function of their jobs, pay types, employment status, location, etc.
Worldview diversity: Worldview diversity refers to the combination of internal, external, and organizational diversity which comes together to form a worldview. This includes outlook in life, moral compass, etc.
Inclusion: Inclusion refers to including someone in a structure despite the diversity in race, culture, religion, profession, etc. Inclusion is also considered a Human Right. Inclusion means breaking down barriers, being more tolerant and accepting, eliminating discrimination, and providing equal opportunities. As an attempt to boost diversity and inclusion, especially in sports clubs, 7 pillars of inclusion have been introduced which are listed as follows.
Access: All the participants must have access to all the services, activities, and opportunities. No participant should be treated with disrespect, inferiority, or feel unwelcome.
Attitude: This pillar of inclusion talks about the willingness and commitment to take real action.
Choice: This pillar talks about identifying what the participants want and how they want to be involved and included. Offering a wide choice of activities helps bring in a diverse group of participants.
Partnerships: Partnership refers to forming connections. Joining hands with different communities, connecting informally with a handshake or formally through agreements and MOUs, partnership stands for an inclusive connection.
Communication: Communication as a pillar of inclusion talks about how rather than just saying what needs to be said, we must watch how it's being said and if it fits the participants’ culture.
Policy: Policy refers to taking responsibility for inclusion by club policies that need to be developed and discussed to make inclusion a living reality in an organization.
Opportunities: Opportunity refers to addressing what opportunities are available to people with a disadvantaged background.
According to the research, when employees feel included and the workplace welcomes diversity, employees experience a boost in trust and security which leads to greater work engagement. It is no surprise that our world consists of a wide range of religions, cultures, races, ethnicities, and so on. Each one of us has many things that we know and can learn from.
Diversity in our world gives us many ideas, perspectives, lessons, and opportunities that having one tribe with the same worldview would never give. And without feeling included and accepted in the environment, people won't be able to fully express themselves and their ideas.
Women were not included in the workplace as proper employees and despite working active roles and competency, they were not acknowledged in the workplace and were stereotyped with gender-specific roles. Women were widely considered inferior to men.
Cultural and religious barriers were rigid. individuals would be excluded from receiving opportunities due to their religion and cultural backgrounds.
Racism was extremely prevalent. Certain individuals would receive privileges just because of their race whereas others would be treated brutally, disrespectfully, and abused. Racism against Black people has ruined and hindered many lives and great potent minds have been lost due to racial barriers.
To sum it up, being different from the powerful majority would bring lots of challenges in the past since the work environment was not very inclusive.
Also, recruiters would reject and fire people based on their differences from the favored majority.
In the past, people were less open to accepting ideas and people who are different. Uniqueness was frowned upon. Beliefs and values were rigid. Thus. the environment was not very welcoming to foreigners.
Today, in many countries, women are not considered inferior to men. Different sexes indeed have different physical structures which give them their strengths and weaknesses, women are not considered inferior to men from a cerebral point of view.
Today, inclusion and diversity are sought after by many companies. Internationally leading companies like Facebook, Google have employees from all around the world.
Youths of today can be seen advocating for inclusion and acceptance. Anti-racism and feminist movements have brought a great shift in diversity and inclusion when compared to the past.
There is an international level movement led by hundreds of people aiming to break taboos and barriers which has made the world more inclusive today.
Recruiters today hire employees based on their competency and not their gender, sex, religion, ethnicity, and so on.
People today are more open-minded than when compared to the past. Uniqueness and differences are being celebrated. Foreigners are welcomed rather than being avoidant.
Inclusion and diversity in the workplace have experienced a great shift. The work environment is still not very inclusive and diverse in many places of the world. However, it is better than it was a few decades ago and will continue to progress in the future as well.
Inclusion is considered a Human Right. Educational discrimination, caste, and gender-based discrimination are considered illegal.
In today’s competitive and fast-paced world, having a successful business requires a diverse range of employees and an inclusive environment.
Sustainable and holistic development is inclusive and benefits a diverse group of people.
An inclusive work environment boosts performance. Employee engagement, trust, cooperation, loyalty towards the company, and employee satisfaction are greatly enhanced.
Diversity brings new ideas and perspectives. There is an opportunity to learn and grow.
Inclusivity and diversity help to debunk and disregard stereotypes and connect.
Diversity in education helps students gain a more dynamic and comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter.
A diverse range of ideas and perspectives boost creativity, enhance problem-solving and communication skills while boosting human connection.
Diversity adds spice to any environment. Exploring each other’s cultures, practices, and sharing of stories helps us form new relationships while adding fun.
If an organization wishes to reach a higher level, the talent pool has to be diverse.
The reputation and image of the company are enhanced. A diverse board in a company will take actions in diverse areas like cultural, environmental, or socio-economic aspects giving the company a responsible portfolio.
The company will gain innovative and effective problem-solving ideas and a diverse skilled workforce.
Companies can come up with creative solutions to any internal or external issues.
Being inclusive and diverse will give your company an undeniable competitive advantage.
Employees work their hardest in an ideal inclusive work environment.
There is a lower employee turnover rate in an inclusive work environment.
An inclusive work environment provides a sense of belongingness. This will build a high level of trust and loyal connection between the company and its employees.
A positive self-image and mutual respect are established. In situations like these, employees work in cooperation increasing the quality and strength of the team.
Intercultural exposure leads to finding new opportunities. This is very beneficial for a company aiming to grow internationally.
Fairness and teamwork boost productivity and help generate more revenue for the company.
Feeling included, like you belong, safe and secure is a prime human need. At the end of the day, despite the differences in the color of our skin, race, caste, religion, or life experiences, we are all human and share the planet earth. We all have that in common. The barriers which separate us from our brothers and sisters must be broken. The stereotypes must be debunked.
Inclusion and diversity do not only benefit a workplace or an organization but the whole society. Inclusion and diversity increase the bond of love, respect, and human connection. And in any company, it can increase both the revenue and the holistic wellbeing of the company.