A Division of Geoff Frost & Associates
Diversity can be described as the “presence of difference”. This can be across demographics, cultural origins, skills and abilities, attitudes, ideas and philosophies, beliefs, experiences, and perspectives.
Equity involves looking at all processes in your business - from hiring, firing, promotions, task assignment, team creation, recognition to other less obvious aspects like how meetings are run and how groups interact. It looks at these processes for bias or inequity - either conscious or unconscious.
While diversity is about differences, inclusion is about embracing those differences. Inclusion is the deliberate action aimed at creating a workplace culture where all differences are welcomed, accepted, and appreciated.
The Result - Belonging
When diversity, equity, and inclusion are combined it creates a workforce with a sense of belonging. Belonging is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Belonging is part of our inherent desire to be part of something greater than ourselves.
This type of diversity is related to each person’s ethnicity and it’s usually the set of norms we get from the society we were raised in or our family’s values.
Race has to do with a person’s grouping based on physical traits (despite the dominant scientific view that race is a social construct, and not biologically defined). Examples of races are Caucasian, African, Latino and Asian.
This type of diversity refers to the presence of multiple religions and spiritual beliefs (including lack thereof) in the workplace.
Age diversity means working with people of different ages and, most importantly, generations. For example, Millennials, GenZers and GenXers can coexist in the same workplace.
Sex and gender can be used in the traditional sense of male and female employees. For example, you may sometimes hear the term “gender balance” used by companies trying to achieve a 50-50 balance between employees who identify as male and employees who identify as female. But, as gender is increasingly defined, the term “gender diversity” may be more appropriate, since there are multiple variations in gender and sexual orientation.
There are various types of disabilities or chronic conditions included here, ranging from mental to physical. Companies often make reasonable accommodations to help people with disabilities integrate into the workplace, such as installing ramps for wheelchairs or providing mental health support. Some companies also adjust their hiring process to make sure its inclusive.
Apart from protected characteristics, there are other important types of diversity, too, like:
These are characteristics that are more intangible than protected characteristics, but it’s equally useful to take them into account inside the business context.