Well, we’ve all heard that old saying “the ONE thing we human beings have in COMMON is that we are all DIFFERENT” and as they say in Yorkshire…. “There’s nowt so queer as folk”
When we consider the whole Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI) agenda in its truest, broadest form, then our workplaces and society as a whole, still have a lot to learn from that old adage.
DEI is indeed, a crucial, transformational element in our working world that needs to be embraced by EVERY human being AND celebrated as a really wonderful thing that the human race can (and should) shout home about.
Sadly, minority opinion on Diversity (and Equity and Inclusion, for that matter) still shows its ugly face all too frequently – in both business and life.
We all witnessed the disgraceful, despicable and downright unforgiveable racist comments publicly splashed across social media last week, after 3 of our young British footballers failed to convert their penalties in the Euro2020 final against Italy. I have no words to express my disgust, except to agree with Boris on this occasion – that I hope those who made the appalling comments crawl back under the filthy dirty rock from which they emerged.
Yet, even more tragically – race is only ONE form of DIVERSITY and of course, EQUITY and INCLUSION cover so many more differences that we human beings have in common too!
I read a wonderful article recently by Unisys on the topic of DEI – you can read the full article here: https://www.unisys.com/glossar…
In a nutshell, the DEI report talks in depth about the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in today’s society and in our workplaces – as something NOT simply that needs to be maintained or improved in order to enhance a company’s reputation, but as something to recognise as a rich and fruitful source of increased productivity, performance and profit.
There are many types of DIVERSITY:
• Marital status
• Sexual orientation
• Disability (mental or physical)
• Socioeconomic background
• Professional expertise
…and promoting DIVERSITY starts with oneself.
Unisys quote “you can foster diversity in the workplace by embracing it and building an understanding of it for yourself. Make a point of educating yourself about different cultures and traditions – and be open to new ideas and perspectives. Get to know your colleagues from different places and backgrounds. A workplace that values and embraces different ways of thinking will foster diverse relationships and partnerships among colleagues and clients”.
So what does EQUITY mean?
Equity means fairness and impartiality, although also accepts that biases and obstacles exist for some that do not exist for others – we don’t all begin on an even playing field, so work must be done to compensate for that.
And of course, EQUITY and EQUALITY are not the same.
Equality strives to ensure everyone has the same things to be successful, but it assumes that everyone starts equally as well, which is not true. Achieving workplace equity requires correcting that disparity, through support systems – so everyone has equal opportunity and everyone is treated fairly, making the workplace advantageous for both the employees and the employer.
The report goes on to say that “by welcoming, valuing and ensuring equal opportunities for all ethnicities, races, ages, religions, abilities, genders and sexual orientations, a company can create a culture that’s truly diverse, equitable and inclusive. Companies that embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion tend to be more innovative, creative and agile, as well as more able to attract and retain more top talent”
And what about INCLUSION?
Each individual employee represents a unique set of experiences, skills, capabilities, aspirations and more. Inclusion in the workplace means bringing traditionally excluded individuals &/or groups into processes, activities and decision-making or policy-making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.
Individuals are encouraged and empowered to share their insights and to contribute fully to the organisation’s success. Inclusion is necessary for workplace diversity to succeed and is essential for employee engagement, productivity and happiness.
INCLUSION is important in the workplace (and of course, in society in general), because it encourages a variety of cultures, backgrounds, experience and ways of thinking to be valued and embraced, as does diversity and equity. It allows people to feel comfortable being themselves, which in turn, boosts their engagement and productivity levels.
Simply put, reinforcing robust DEI programmes into your business, helps every employee to show up each day without fear of being their true selves. This fosters higher degrees of engagement, productivity and innovation that contribute to increased revenue – definitely a win-win outcome to be had here!
Diversity advocate, Verna Myers coined the phrase “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” However, public speaker & diversity leader, Daniel Juday defines DEI in a more EQUITABLE and INCLUSIVE way:
“DIVERSITY means everyone is invited to the party.
EQUITY means that everyone is a member of the party-planning committee (and gets to contribute to the playlist!)
INCLUSION means that everyone has the opportunity to dance, without needing to be asked”.
Whichever way you look at it, let’s all embrace the DEI movement – and enjoy the party 😊
Until next time – keep FIT!