Diversity + Inclusion = Success

For decades, leaders and those specializing in human resources have been reading reports and seeing real-life results demonstrating that companies with high levels of diversity and inclusion perform better financially. In fact, diverse companies outperform other companies by up to 35 percent, according to McKinsey.

Due to many recent coinciding events, general public discourse about diversity and inclusion has exploded across the news, entertainment and social media. This discussion and proactive social movements have further shed light on the underrepresentation and unequal treatment of women and minorities in business.

Traditionally, diversity or sensitivity training programs have been implemented as reactions to negative behaviors or to meet the compliance of state and federal law. However, organizations are starting to take a more proactive stance and prioritizing diversity and inclusion as part of a more holistic strategy.

Given this spotlight on diversity and inclusion, I think it would be helpful to address the point that diversity is often mistaken for inclusion, but the two terms are not synonymous.

Diversity = Representation

We can define diversity in this context as the variety of people within an organization. A mix of individuals with seen and unseen traits such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability and religious belief create diversity. Businesses can measure and track the number of various types of people in their workforce in comparison to the population at large.

Inclusion = Belonging

Inclusion is the creation of an environment in which employees feel a sense of belonging, respect, safety and authenticity. A combination of these feelings develops an employee’s perception of their belonging and involvement in the workplace. Organizations can measure their employee’s experiences through surveys, productivity metrics and observations

In the U.S., the original model for diversity was captured under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As we head into 2021, I am hopeful that we will see further progress toward the implementation of effective diversity and inclusion practices.



Samantha Hardwood