When I was graduating from college and busy preparing myself to step into the “corporate world” one of my few concerns is that I wanted to join a workforce where voices must be heard and Ideation should be embraced. I entered the workplace with a mixed feeling of fear, excitement, and awe. And along the way, I met with people who didn’t take any interest in what I am saying. However, I also encountered people who introduced me to the term – “Diversity and Inclusion”. I think that was my light-bulb moment when I earnestly began to contemplate the term “Diversity and Inclusion at Workplace”. And what does it really mean? As I was leafing through the pages of “Cambridge Dictionary” I come across the word and what’s amazing about that dictionary is that it defines a complex word in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. Diversity in its very simplest form means – the fact that there are many different ideas or opinions about something. And when I encounter the word “inclusion” it has got various definitions in multiple contexts. One of its definitions says: “inclusion means the act of allowing many different types of people to do something and treating them fairly and equally”.
Many times, we talk about “Diversity and Inclusion” as if they are identical twins. But if we look closely at the terms, you will find the diversification in these two words. Diversity itself is a broad concept. And If I put the inclusion in more simple terms – it means accepting the application of what we call diversification. It’s good if our organization is diverse. But it would be better or say great if our organization will be inclusive. The 2015 report of McKinsey & Company titled “Why Diversity Matters” pointed out that companies that advocated diversity and have more diverse workplaces, achieved 35 percent more financial success than the companies whose executives and CEOs don’t take time out to prioritize the D&I. Their research also makes it palpable that in the United States racial and ethnic diversity outperforms gender diversity. Signifying that when it comes to the financial performance of a company or organization that promotes racial and ethnic diversity is way too ahead than that encouraging gender equality. The reason could be varied from different perspectives. That’s another topic. And I will cover it in my next article. For now, let’s continue with this one.
Now turn your attention to Inclusion: Diversity can’t win alone. If we want to sustain the diversification of our workplace. We must focus on inclusion as well. Even the organization that is doing well on the subject of diversity, too, requires to pay much greater attention to inclusion. We must design our workplace in a way where diversity can prosper. No one adores the feeling of being left out. Various researches show that “the feeling of exclusion” has a terrible and dreadful impact on the human brain. Moving forward in my career I realized that we can’t retain the diversification of a workplace without including inclusion. So, for a few minutes, or days, or months whatever it takes; pause and take the plunge to plan to make room for inclusion. Dive deep and ponder what will you do, to create a workspace that could be more inclusive. A workplace where everyone; notwithstanding, of their color, race, region, religion, sex, appearance, belief, ability, disability, creed, and many more things, can be viewed as a part of a whole rather than a fragmented piece of the circle. Yes, for making a more diverse workplace and to retain that diverseness, we have to learn how to say “It feels completely different or it looks like alien to me but I appreciate their smartness as well as intelligence. I cherish the difference between us. Diversity and inclusion are not about the empowerment of a particular aspect of the workplace. It’s all about the learning of the skills of “embracing the difference”. So, the next time when we take a step further in order to perpetuate the inclusive milieu of our diverse workplace. We can do the work sincerely, warmly, and cordially.