What is Diversity & Inclusion?
Defining Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) refers to the actions an organisation takes to make sure there’s a diverse range of people in roles and that these people are actively supported to do their best work. In a diverse and inclusive workplace, there’s both equal opportunity for all employees and a respect for each individual’s needs.
Diversity refers to how well a workplace represents people of different backgrounds, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities and ages. It also considers other unique characteristics like a person’s educational background, location, strengths and communication style.
When organisations value diversity, they strengthen team performance and encourage innovation – welcoming in fresh perspectives and ideas.
Inclusion is achieved when people in the workplace feel seen, heard, valued and as though their contribution matters. Employees feel safe to bring ‘their whole selves to work’, showcase their unique talents, and can access the opportunities and resources they need to do their best work.
When organisations are inclusive, employees experience a sense of belonging – and this has a distinctly positive effect on workplace culture.
Becoming a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace
A more diverse and inclusive workplace needs to be supported by strong policies, fair and unbiased systems, and equal access to opportunities. Systemic changes start with leadership, and employees will look to leaders to drive these changes.
But to start making positive changes right away, leaders can put these four actions in practice:
1. Become More Self-aware
Leaders need to become aware of their biases – conscious or unconscious. Start critically assessing your own thoughts and feelings before making decisions. Understand how employees might be impacted by bias and what actions can be taken to disrupt it. Leaders then need to help their team members to do the same.
2. Communicate the Importance of D&I
Advocating for diversity and inclusion starts with leaders. Those in leadership positions must show a respect for diversity and inclusion – making sure opportunities are fairly distributed, designing team activities to be inclusive, and calling out exclusionary behaviour.
3. Educate Yourself and Your Team
No matter what level of leadership you are, there are plenty of free resources available on understanding and advocating for diversity and inclusion. Leaders can then educate their teams – discussing what inclusive behaviours look like. An example might be using a meeting framework that gives every participant the opportunity to contribute.
4. Use Inclusive Language
If you’re not already, start using inclusive language. Learn each employee’s pronouns and use ungendered language such as ‘partner’ (not girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife). Be careful not to make assumptions about people’s abilities or personal lives based on old norms.
Short videos to help you understand D&I
These videos introduce you to unconscious bias, inclusive leadership and the seven social differences – a good way to start your education on D&I.
How do our unconscious biases affect our behaviour and how can we disrupt them to make more balanced decisions and achieve better results?
The unique combination of seven social differences (age, location, socio-economic status, gender, sexuality, ability and ethnicity) shape who we are.
Learn More on Diversity and Inclusion
At Thinka, we help leaders nurture a healthy workplace culture – with diversity and inclusion at the heart of it. Keen to learn more about how you can embed D&I in your organisation? Take a look below.
What defines workplace culture and how do you know if you’re doing everything you can to build a thriving, healthy culture? We talk about the key influences on positive workplace culture and what leaders and teams can do.
By using the popular assessment tool, Clifton Strengths, organisations can see their employees’ ‘top talents’ and positively impact workplace culture. Read on to learn more on adopting a Clifton Strengths approach.
Learning and Development
How can a learning and development strategy contribute to building a thriving workplace culture? The key is to unlock the learner in every employee. As experts in L&D, we can show you how.
We’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in knowing more about diversity and inclusion or workplace culture, why not reach out to us?