Diversity v. Inclusion - what's the difference?

Updated: 11 months ago
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Just because you have diversity - doesn't mean you have inclusion.

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Diversity means you have variety.  In the workplace - you could have a variety of people of different genders. You could have a variety of people of different ages. You could have a variety of people from different income groups. You could have a variety of people with different skin tones. A variety of people from different religions.  Think of diversity - as variety.

There is a reason companies like to recruit diverse people. And it's not just that they don't want to get sued for discrimination. It's also because diversity is great for critical thinking and decision making.  

You don't know what you don't know. Diversity gives you a better chance at uncovering the things you don't know so that you can plan for them and adjust your strategies so they are more likely to be successful.

In order for diversity to benefit your organization though - it's not enough to have diversity - you must also have inclusion.

What good is having a math wiz - if you never ask them to do the math for you?  What good is it to have an epidemiologist during a pandemic - if you don't take their advice?  What good is it to plan for education during a pandemic if you don't include teachers in the planning discussions? Not good at all.

In order to benefit from diversity - you have to make sure people with diverse knowledge and experience - are included in the decision-making process. Otherwise, you are making decisions in the dark and that's exactly what we're trying to avoid by recruiting diverse people.

So - how to ensure people that are diverse create positive collaborative workgroups where everyone is included and everyone can contribute equally?  That is literally - the billion-dollar question that seems to defy solution.

It turns out we humans are really tribal. We don't trust others and if we don't trust - we don't collaborate.  Also - some people have learned that - they can get their way if they just - exclude those pesky others who have different ideas.  

In order to create a culture of inclusion- you have to simultaneously build up trust and get rid of the people who dominate through bullying and other obnoxious behavior.  This is why my book - The Bully Vaccine - is subtitled: How to inoculate yourself against bullies and other petty people.  https://humanistlearning.com/the-bully-vaccine-book/ 

Recruiting in diversity is actually fairly easy once you decide to do it. The harder part is how to make sure those diverse people are nurtured and included so that they can be their best and contribute to the organization - instead of being marginalized by your other employees.

To help you with that - I offer a variety of training programs that teach you and your staff - how to stop bullying using behavioral science and how to manage humanistically - so that you can finally - have that inclusive supportive organization you always dreamed of.  Details at: https://humanistlearning.com/programsoffered/


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