So, how are they different? Diversity is the reality of how your workforce is made up and what it looks like, whereas inclusion is about how people feel and their sense of belonging. In the words of Verna Myers, VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, "Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance. Belonging is dancing like nobody is watching”.
An inclusive culture must be contributed to by all; it is the responsibility of all employees and everyone can make a difference to that culture. Diversity and inclusion must work together hand in hand as without inclusion, diversity remains an unfulfilled potential.
What does diversity mean in business?
Diversity is more than ethnicity, ability, gender or sexual orientation; it’s about every individual and how they bring their skills, experience and insights to their role and the organisation. Diversity of life experience and thought are paramount to creating diverse outputs and making progress. Innovation comes not only from the insights of particular people but the way in which these insights come together and connect; collective diversity creates opportunity.
Check out our article ‘What does diversity actually mean?’ to learn more.
What does inclusion mean in business?
Inclusion means creating a working environment that promotes a sense of belonging and treats each employee equally. All employees must feel valued, listened to and able to thrive in their role. Understanding intersectionality and what role this plays in forming different individuals’ experiences is key to building an inclusive and empathetic company culture.
An inclusive company culture can empower businesses to make powerful, sustainable change. FDM has incorporated a number of different ongoing initiatives to promote inclusion and ensure that every employee has their voice heard, which include:
- Employee Networks where employees can join together to share insights and experiences
- Employee Voice and the Board which ensures that employee concerns and feedback across all roles and departments are discussed at board level.
- Mentoring and Support which provides all employees with help and guidance to help them settle into life at FDM and navigate the next steps in their career
- Events and Workshops where FDM consultants can network with others, share insights and develop new skills
The importance of inclusion
Organisations that successfully retain diverse talent and reap the benefits that a diverse workforce brings are the ones that actively foster an inclusive company culture. Leaders must ensure that inclusion becomes a meaningful company value by continuously listening to employees and asking them how they can enable them further to share their ideas.
Inclusion is also essential when it comes to hiring the best talent. Increasingly potential candidates want to work for companies that have a culture that embraces diversity and supports employees from different backgrounds. In a recent study by the Institute for Public Relations, ‘nearly half (47%) of the millennials surveyed [...] believe that diversity and inclusion are important criteria when looking for a potential employer’, so if you want to attract the best talent, it must matter to your organisation, too.
Does your business support diversity and inclusion?
The first step in assessing how far your business supports diversity and inclusion is collecting information from your employees to gauge how they are really feeling. Introducing Pulse surveys is an effective way to do this and understand your employees’ views on inclusion. Key questions you should be able to answer from the results are:
- Do employees feel they are being listened to?
- To what extent would you say that your employees feel a strong sense of belonging?
- Are action plans and initiatives embedded within the organisation to deliver change and progress?
When carrying out a survey of this nature, you must be prepared to act on the results and address how your employees are feeling. Use the results to create a clear plan of action to directly address employee feedback and concerns; it’s vital that your employees can see real action taken on the issues that matter most to them.
Diversity of thought is critical to sustainable business growth and innovation. Businesses that choose to neglect diversity and inclusion will fall behind and fail to attract and retain the best talent to their organisation. Diversity is not only key to future-proofing businesses but also critical when it comes to the future of technology. Almost all technological innovations connect disparate ideas, minds, data sets and systems and concepts; without collective diversity, it simply cannot serve humanity.
If you’re keen to find out more about diversifying your talent pipeline with FDM or want to learn more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion, get in touch.