Having a seat at the table
Diversity has many definitions. Organizations frequently adapt the definition to their specific environment. Generally, diversity refers to the similarities and differences among individuals accounting for all aspects of their personality and individual identity. Some of the common dimensions of diversity are shown below, with a sampling of related content:
- Age. See How Attracting and Retaining Older Employees Can Help Your Business.
- Disability. See How can HR help introduce more people with disabilities into the workforce?
- Ethnicity/national origin. See Asian Americans Face Violence, Workplace Discrimination.
- Family status.
- Sex. See Bridging the Gender Divide.
- Gender identity or expression. See Employing Transgender Workers.
- Generation. See Harnessing the Power of a Multigenerational Workforce.
- Language. See Viewpoint: The Silencing of ESL Speakers.
- Life experiences. See Viewpoint: The Forgotten Dimension of Diversity
- Neurodiversity. See How to Attract and Support Neurodiverse Talent.
- Organizational function and level.
- Physical characteristics.
- Race/color. See More Racial Diversity at Tech Companies Can Help Eliminate Biased Products.
- Religion, belief and spirituality. See Prayer and Meditation Rooms Can Increase Inclusion.
- Sexual orientation.
- Veteran status. See Building and Sustaining a Veteran-Informed Culture: A Guide for HR Professionals.
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” —Vernā Myers
Diversity provides the potential for greater innovation and creativity. Inclusion is what enables organizations to realize the business benefits of this potential.
Inclusion describes the extent to which each person in an organization feels welcomed, respected, supported and valued as a team member. Inclusion is a two-way accountability; each person must grant and accept inclusion from others. In such an environment, every employee tends to feel more engaged and is more likely to contribute to the organization’s business results. This type of environment requires people from diverse backgrounds to communicate and work together, and to understand one another’s needs and perspectives—in other words, to demonstrate cultural competence. See Inclusion: Out of the Training Room and into Employees’ Hands and Want a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace? Work on Your Culture.
Equity in the workplace refers to fair treatment in access, opportunity and advancement for all individuals. Work in this area includes identifying and working to eliminate barriers to fair treatment for disadvantaged groups, from the team level through systemic changes in organizations and industries. Effecting change through an equity lens generally requires an understanding that the societal systems in which we currently work are not equitable and that those inequities are reflected in our organizations.