In the previous newsletter, we explored the concept and true essence of diversity. We also spoke about the benefits of a workplace that embraces diversity and how we can go above and beyond to promote a culture of distinctiveness.
Today we will explore a closely related theme: Inclusion.
Let us first understand the difference between diversity and inclusion with the help of a story.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden with all kinds of plants and flowers. Each with its unique shape, size, and fragrance. At first sight, all the vibrant colors were pleasant to look at, but as one walked closer, they noticed something peculiar in the flower arrangement. The flowers were planted in groups and batched, similar-looking ones were planted together. Even though there was variety in the garden, it did not come together as a cohesive whole.
One day, a gardener named ‘Inclusion’ walked into the garden. Inclusion saw the issue and decided to take action. Inclusion started rearranging the garden, ensuring that every type of flower had a place where it could thrive, could be seen and appreciated by all the visitors. Inclusion also ensured that each plant got just the right amount of sunlight, water, and care so they could flourish, regardless of the color or shape.
Inclusion’s efforts to make every plant in the garden feel valued, transformed the garden and enhanced its beauty. Later, visitors of the garden were not only in awe of the diversity of the flowers, but also felt a sense of belongingness and unity among them, making the garden look like a cohesive whole.
When put simply, diversity is about acknowledging and celebrating differences, and inclusion is about creating an environment where everyone feels valued, and appreciated, and can fully participate, irrespective of their differences.
Now that we have clarified the concept of inclusion, let us take a moment to reflect on how inclusion looks in practice, especially at the workplace.
In an inclusive workplace, all employees have equal access to opportunities, promotions, and career development, regardless of their background.
Employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback openly without the fear of discrimination or bias.
Inclusive organizations have fair and unbiased policies and practices in place, right from hiring and promotion to compensation and benefits.
Regular diversity and inclusion training is provided to employees at all levels to raise awareness and foster understanding.
Employee resource groups are put in place to enable employees to connect and support each other based on shared characteristics or experiences, promoting a sense of belongingness.
Creating a truly inclusive workplace is an ongoing process that requires commitment, effort, and continuous improvement. By fostering an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued, organizations harness the full potential of their diverse talent and promote a culture of innovation and collaboration.