Diversity and inclusion.
The two words—diversity and inclusion—are so frequently stated together, it's easy to think that one automatically leads to the other. But, that’s not actually the case.
Diversity means that there are a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences represented on your team. This includes people of different races, ethnicities, religions, genders (and gender identifications), sexual orientations, physical abilities, ages, educations, social classes, and beyond.
Inclusion, however, is tougher to quantify. It involves facilitating connections and cultivating organizational norms and behaviors that actively encourage your diverse team members to bring their whole selves to the office. It’s the work you do to create a safe space and embrace what makes each person on your team unique.
A quote from diversity advocate, Vernā Meyers, sums it up perfectly: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.
Why That Distinction Matters (Because, Yes, it Really Does)
This differentiation between diversity and inclusion is important because it’s where a lot of companies fall short with their own efforts to be more open and aware.
They’ll put in the work it takes to find and hire more diverse candidates, and they might even be successful in increasing their ratio of representation. But, if they don’t also commit to fostering a culture of inclusivity, those employees won’t feel supported or accepted in their work environment—which means they probably won’t stick around long-term.
Put simply, diversity without inclusion isn’t enough to make real progress. You need to focus on both sides of the equation if you’re going to do things right.
So, How Do You Get Diversity and Inclusion Right?
By now, you know that diversity and inclusion are about a lot more than just checking a box or meeting a quota. But, that still begs the question: How do you get it right?
First, it’s crucial to recognize that diversity and inclusion isn’t something you can set and then forget. Making strides is an ongoing endeavor that requires being self-aware, selfless, and forward-thinking.
Then, it’s time to focus your efforts on these two critical areas: building a diverse team and emphasizing inclusivity in your workplace. Rest assured, there are plenty of resources and tactics that can help you succeed at both.
And, we’re sharing all sorts of powerful lessons, actionable strategies, and helpful insights from diversity and inclusion leaders in our most recent ebook.
Want the lowdown on all things diversity and inclusion? Grab your free copy of the ebook right here.
Photo of team at whiteboard courtesy of Tom Werner/Getty Images.
Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, productivity, and the freelance life. In addition to The Muse, she's a contributor all over the web and dishes out research-backed advice for places like Atlassian, Trello, Toggl, Wrike, The Everygirl, FlexJobs, and more. She's also an Employment Advisor at a local college, and loves helping students prepare to thrive in careers (and lives!) they love. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her two rescue mutts or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.More from this Author