The phrase “diversity and inclusion” is often used in its entirety, leading people to believe that diversity and inclusion are either one and the same or at the very least tethered together.
The truth is that diversity and inclusion are separate concepts that might overlap but still mean different things.
Diversity in the workplace is the practice of hiring a wide variety of people to build a team that reflects society. That often means consciously recruiting talent from varying socioeconomic backgrounds, races and genders, and that represent varying religious groups, age groups, abilities, sexual orientations, skill sets and so on.
True diversity isn’t tokenism (recruiting people just because of what they represent, as if to tick a box) but rather a manifestation of a company’s desire to create a workforce that represents that client base and population it serves.
Inclusion happens when organizations equally hear and value the input of every member of a diverse team while treating those members with respect. Inclusivity is also about access and opportunity.
For a workplace to be truly inclusive, everyone in it should have the same access to resources, training, guidance, promotional opportunities and anything else that could contribute to the success of the individual and/or the organization.
Many experts suggest thinking of diversity as the “what,” while inclusion is the “how.” Understanding the first part of the equation is how you inform the second part, but just attempting one or the other isn’t enough.