Often, we use the term D&I as if it was a single concept. It is not (and doing so minimizes the importance of each term). Recognising that Diversity and Inclusion are two separate terms is fundamental to properly address them, so that they can then interact and create better workplaces. We need both.
⦁ Diversity is the mix of people in your organization.
⦁ Inclusion is getting the mix of people to work.
Companies tend to strongly focus on diversity.
Most of the “D&I” metrics that currently exist (e.g. % of people of color hired or % of women in management) measure diversity but fail to address inclusion.
This is because inclusion is harder to understand, especially by those who are already included (inclusion reflects the absence of negative incidents that make one feel excluded).
The problem is that diversity simply isn’t enough! This is evidenced by the low success rate of DEI initiatives.
Companies tend to focus on hiring diverse candidates, but then these diverse candidates find themselves in an environment that is unwelcoming or sometimes even hostile and either quit or can’t reach their maximum potential (decreased productivity and outcomes).
“Hiring people from diverse groups is easier than successfully addressing the deep-rooted cultural and organizational issues that those groups face in their day-today work experience.” Boston Consulting Group
So, what do we know? We need inclusion! It is inclusion that creates lasting meaningful change. Feeling safe, understood, and included is what attracts and retains talent. The ability to hear all voices is what drives innovation and better financial performance for companies.
In order to succeed in DEI and unlock the whole value it brings to organizations (which is a lot!) we need to focus on inclusion.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is the act of creating belonging.
To better understand what this means, we can break it down into 5 categories:
⦁ Access & recognition: access to people (e.g. ability to speak with leadership), resources, encouragement of diverse perspectives and acknowledgment of their contributions.
⦁ Learning & growth: support for professional development (e.g. mentorship programs) and consistent & fair promotion processes.
⦁ Compensation & benefits: clear, transparent, and equitable compensation structure.
⦁ Work-life balance: polices that allow flex or remote work options and assistance with caregiving.
⦁ Respect & safety: polices that directly address microaggressions, discrimination & harassment in the workplace and a culture that allows (and encourages) the expression of your full identity
How can we measure inclusion?
As I mentioned before, inclusion is the act of creating belonging. Belonging lives in people. The best way to assess inclusion in the workplace is asking employees directly.
There are two main ways to assess people’s sense of belonging:
⦁ Employee Satisfaction Survey – ASK: include specific questions to assess employee perception of DEI initiatives and register “incidents of exclusion”.
⦁ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – LISTEN: create safe spaces where people from representative groups can speak from their personal experience.
The challenge with inclusion is asking the right questions, listening without bias, and having the right metrics to track and measure progress.
GEM can help you do this.
For more information on how to tackle diversity, equity and inclusion please reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org