Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

It’s the year 2022, we have been speaking about D&I for many years now, there is a need to make this a mandate across the board in organisations. We are no more in the space where there is a debate on how and why Diversity works or why it is great for organisations to invest in it. Trendy buzzwords of Diversity and Inclusion have been doing active rounds of boardroom conversations but the transition to tangible business outcomes via D&I have now taken center stage and it is imperative that all of us look at this as more than just a tick in the box.

To most part, gender has been a key highlight for organisations when it comes to diversity agendas and rightly so. But the focus has to also be more inclusive, by widening the spectrum to include race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, generational, differently abled communities and a far wider approach to diversity and inclusion.

As for the stats (Overview: Diversity in the Workplace Statistics to Know for 2020 by Nick Perry):

  • Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better.
  • Diverse teams are 70% more likely to capture new markets.
  • Diverse teams are 87% better at making decisions.
  • Inclusive companies are 1.7x more innovative.
  • Companies that have a highly inclusive culture have 2.3x more cash flow per employee.
  • Inclusive companies are 120% more likely to hit financial goals.

It’s proven that diverse teams have a better rate of success than non-diverse ones. But there’s more than just success and business outcomes to this whole play. It’s not just what meets the eye and that’s quite a lot including more innovation, competitive business advantage, better business outcomes, economic growth, market share captures, increased creativity and the list goes on. But the higher goal or vision is more philosophical and caters to business responsibility to create a positive impact on society. If we can build inclusive spaces for people to co-exist and nurture and build relationships that sustain and create positive impact without strain or bias or any form of discrimination, we have impacted the world in a positive way.

Inclusion is often lumped together with Diversity, but diversity does not drive inclusion and often there’s a diversity backlash if inclusion isn’t part of the larger program. Inclusion promotes and sustains a sense of belonging. It also ensures that the inherent worth and dignity of people from diverse backgrounds are recognised and is involvement and empowerment of the people involved.

For building a sustainable and scalable diversity program, inclusion is the key. Ensuring that all the people involved are valued and given equal opportunities for growth and development.

Diversity is also not relevant or powerful without absolute, seamless inclusion in tow. While diversity brings a varied set of perspectives, inclusion allows for these different perspectives to co-exist and leverage off each other. What is the point of driving diversity if inclusion does not exist and people are closed off operating with their owns sets of biases? Inclusion is behavior and manifestation of comfortable co-existence. Diversity is easier to achieve while inclusion is a tough journey. Respect should be the primary cultural aspect that is promoted for an inclusive workplace. Leveraging, nurturing and nourishing diversity to reach a space of belonging and being celebrated for who they are and what they bring to the table.

The ethos, pathos and logos of diversity and inclusion should ideally all come together to drive the overarching ideology and then leading to truly diverse and inclusive workplaces.

The more the world is shrinking, the more polarised it is becoming, and D & I could be the answer to open minds that are often closed to the idea of different but equal in all form.

As communicators and marketers, we are custodians in some form of what we do and how we do it when it comes to the story on diversity and inclusion and it’s good to take on the onus to ensure that all we do and say and write reflects a truly holistic approach to D&I.

As we discuss and deliberate on D&I, it becomes very important to understand Equality, Equity and Social Justice:

Equality: Involves treating people the same based on the assumption that everyone benefits from the same support to meet their needs. This is equal treatment.

Equity: Acknowledges individuals’ history, experiences, and needs and recognises that treating people based upon their needs may be necessary to ensure their equality of access. For instance, making accommodations for people with disabilities is based on the concept of equity and they often can benefit everyone (e.g., availability of elevators).

Social Justice: With social justice, no support or accommodations are needed because the cause of the inequity is addressed. The system is changed. It embodies a vision of an equitable society where all members are physically, socially, and psychologically safe; have our basic economic needs met; and are able to exercise our right to basic human dignity.

Definitions – *Source: UF Counselling and Wellness Center

For years, systemic discrimination, conditioning and the play of conscious and unconscious bias have played to the gallery and have created an ecosystem which does not operate primarily with inclusion or empathy and that is what we need to drive at, building workplaces where the inclusion mindset operates and drives all else. These organisations that adopt and adapt to the future of inclusion will surely pave the way for a world that is diverse, equitable and truly inclusive.

This column has been shared as part of the Global Alliance Education and Training Month – 2022

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Aon India Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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