Quite often, people ask me what Diversity and Inclusion really mean… so let’s define those two words:
Diversity means all the ways we differ from one another, and any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups: Gender, Culture, Ethnicity, Religion, Age, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Education. The more our World becomes interconnected, the more diverse we become.
A diverse environment helps us feel recognized, respected, valued and supported. The inclusion focuses on the needs of every individual and ensures that the right conditions are in place for everyone to feel truly included in his workplace. Therefore, inclusion involves an intentional and active commitment to embrace difference and create a sense of belonging.
Why should companies invest in Diversity and Inclusion?
Over the years companies have developed a set of methods and practices. According to a recent report by Deloitte Consulting surveying 245 companies (including fortune 500), the three main reasons for investing in Diversity and Inclusion that stand out are:
- Improving employee engagement
- Serving customers more effectively
- Increasing organizational innovation and agility
How do Diversity and Inclusion work, practically?
An efficient management of diversity encompasses a wide range of policies, such as working arrangements, talent development, training and counseling employees when inclusion-related problems arise.
Diversity and Inclusion practices are a mix of:
- Change Management: Every organizational change involves a cultural change. Change management focuses on involving everyone in the process.
- Strategic Management: The company needs to reach its goals while including and involving all its employees, with their differences.
- Coaching and Training: In a multicultural organization, training the managers and/or employees to be knowledgeable about cross-cultural issues is a must. Increasing cultural competency helps people work together more efficiently and prevent many misunderstandings and conflicts from occurring.
- Communication, Human Resources: Maintaining a constant and efficient communication between the board, the employees and all stakeholders.
- Law: Ensuring that the organization’s culture is free of harassment and discrimination is critical.