In today’s society, diversity and inclusion have never been more prevalent in the workplace — and that can only be seen as a step in the right direction. Following on from years of misinformation and confusion regarding the proper standards, it appears as if companies across the globe are beginning to grasp the meaning of both terms in a way that benefits both themselves and their employees.

Alas, while that expands to a variety of different industries, there are still a few questions that need to be answered. There will always be those who struggle to adapt to change, but in equal measure, there are others who have incredibly valid concerns when it comes to specific issues such as diversity vs inclusion.

Many feel that simply putting these words together as a package deal is enough. simply lump these words together as a package deal. In reality, though, it’s far more beneficial to take a step back and really analyse diversity and inclusion as two unique entities.

With that being said, our aim today is to do just that.

What is diversity?

It’s important to differentiate between diversity and inclusion, if only because there’s a lot to separate the two. When it comes to diversity, the most stripped-back definition indicates that diversity serves as how we study the range of differences in humans. From appearances to characteristics and beyond, it’s about taking individual people and finding a way to truly understand them.

At a base level, diversity can refer to several specific things, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability and sexual orientation. However,, it’s far more complex than that. It takes your socioeconomic status and background into consideration, what religion you may follow, your relationship status, and more.

In a perfect world, every workplace from here to Peru and back would be diverse. There are so many wonderful possibilities and opportunities that stem from implementing this as a standard practice, and yet, some are still left scratching their heads after all these years of hard work.

Why? One of the reasons, perhaps, is that they haven’t figured out how to separate diversity from inclusion.

What is inclusion?

At the core of it, inclusion means the art of including someone within a group, structure or working environment. It helps bridge the gap between inequality and equality, enforcing the kind of setup we’d all want to be the status quo in our day jobs. Regardless of their situation, any individual shouldn’t be denied access to anything — and that comes from inclusivity.

Some companies may feel that diversity alone is enough to create a happy workspace, but that’s far from the truth. The act of improving diversity shouldn’t be about avoiding scrutiny. It’s about adding a layer of comfort to proceedings that ensures we feel together as a connected unit, as opposed to divided.

Inclusion insists on everyone feeling respected in any way, shape or form without having to raise awareness of it themselves. Everyone should be allowed to have their voices and opinions heard and considered, and they should be able to overcome certain stereotypes that perceive them to be lesser than.

Diversity vs inclusion: the main differences

The hiring process

One of the biggest indicators that these two terms aren’t as related as you may believe comes from a company’s hiring process. When going through the motions of hiring a new employee, diversity is something that’s heavily considered. It’s all about making sure there are no biases in play instead of seeing it as a “tick-box exercise”.

Meanwhile, the importance of inclusion doesn’t really come into play until later down the line. It’s always great when a company takes the initiative to plan ahead, especially if they’re a start-up, but it will take time to see the results. First, there’s the theory, and then, it’s about nailing the execution and sticking by it for the years to come.

Preparation

When you look at the bigger picture for diversity in the workplace, there are set regulations and procedures that have been put in place before someone even steps foot in the door. It’s taken years for that to become the case in many industries, but the bottom line is that there’s been incremental progress, and that’s not something to turn your nose up at.

When you spin that around and look at it from the perspective of inclusivity, it feels as if some companies are still figuring out how to make this work in the long term. There needs to be a higher concentration of people focusing on how to make everyone feel like they belong, but societally speaking, it’s not quite as far along.

Mainstream coverage

In the mainstream media, very careful selections are made when it comes to choosing the biggest and best stories of the day, week, month, and year. Sometimes, it comes down to what they personally believe to be interesting or helpful to their own cause, and in other instances, it’s just a case of finding out what the public wants to see and why exactly they want to see it.

In the broadest sense, diversity has been at the forefront of the media’s mind for what feels like decades now. It’s certainly been promising and rewarding to see some of the many changes made throughout this journey, but on the flip side, some would say that the conversation surrounding inclusion has suffered as a result.

It’s more than work

Diversity in the workplace offers everyone the chance to succeed and thrive in their chosen field. It doesn’t matter what hurdles have to be overcome because, at the heart of it all, they can to kick on and forge their own path. 

Inclusivity, though, as we’ve touched on, is about a whole lot more than that.

It’s one thing to make sure your hiring standards are at the right level, but it’s another to make someone feel safe. Whether it be the morals and code of conduct that your company lives by or the physical workspace that you enter every single day, there are so many different facets to consider when stringing this all together.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion

More profitable

They say that money makes the world go around, and in business, that certainly tends to be the case more often than not. While the mission statement can often be to help the public by any means necessary or create change in a real, feasible manner, we need to have a steady income stream in order to do that. So, where does diversity and inclusion come into the equation?

According to a McKinsey report from 2015, the most culturally diverse organisations were 35% more likely to exceed the median earnings in their field. In addition, companies with good gender diversity were 15% more likely to be exceptionally profitable, furthering the idea that putting solid plans in place in this department is well worth your time.

A steady workforce

Perhaps one of the biggest problems employers can have in any job is turnover. It’s not exactly a bad thing to bring in some fresh faces, but if that, in turn, leads to even more employees leaving, that can create an imbalance which isn’t beneficial for the long-term sustainability of your company. Because ofthis, it’s crucial to think about these factors when you’re going through candidates and available roles.

A report by Glassdoor noted that 76% of employees and jobseekers view diversity as an important element of the workplace that impacts recruitment and retention. Yes, the job itself has to be worthwhile, and there has to be respect from higher-ups, but you really can’t underestimate how much people value this side of things.

Improved productivity

It’s great to receive the opinion of someone well-informed on a particular subject, especially if that opinion can give you great clarity on an upcoming project. In saying that, we’d argue that diversity of thought can help people learn more, become better within themselves, and generally lead to more astute observations.

When you have greater odds of innovation and a wider spectrum of views, you’re bound to have enhanced success. If you’re operating at a high level in any industry, then one of the worst things that could possibly happen would be for your productivity to drop. Between diversity and inclusion, you can really harness the energy of a great group of talented workers.

Better engagement

Whether it’s because you’re shy, lower down on the pecking order, or you just don’t feel like your opinion matters, it can sometimes be difficult to give your input at work. So, for any bosses out there reading this, we can definitively say that one of the best ways to improve employee engagement is by creating a strong sense of inclusion.

Those who feel included, respected and appreciated are more likely to push for change and stand up for what they believe in. In a more recent McKinsey report, nearly 40% of those asked suggested that they have turned down jobs because of what they perceived to be a lack of inclusion. It matters, and it’ll continue to matter.

Conclusion

Introducing strong diversity and inclusion practices into your company can be hugely beneficial when dealt with effectively. It can massively improve your long-term success levels with hiring and can allow you to build a strong, stable relationship from the word go.If you want to learn more about diversity and inclusion and how it can help you, contact Joss Search. As specialists in business support recruitment, we can give you the expert guidance required for such a venture.