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Is there a Difference Between Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity?

Group of diverse, inclsivitypeople sitting on a couch together

One of the corporate discussions that are usually misunderstood is that bordering on diversity, inclusivity, and equity.

We have been in different corporate circles and interacted with different companies that we now understand where the confusion comes from. 

Most of the partners we work with and have interacted with have a genuine desire to make all three happen. The disconnect happens in the basic understanding of what they mean.

The Place of Diversity

Let’s start with what’s wrong with how brands and companies see diversity.

You should never define the diversity of your workforce in the kind of people you employ. It should, instead, be discussed in the light of how different kinds of backgrounds and experiences make up your every team. 

Let’s put that in context for better understanding.

The current, prevalent mindset about diversity refers to people of color, women, the disabled, and other individuals that fall into such categories. Keeping to that definition is only advancing the problem, not solving it. 

Seeing those classes of people as ‘diverse’ means that they are not the norm. The norm would be white, English-speaking, predominantly male, and physically capable workforce. See what the problem with that is right now?

Thus, when hiring for diversity, forget all of the prejudices that you want to go against just to meet the diversity quota. Focus, instead, on what’s under the surface. 

Shoot to get a different range of views, thoughts, and experiences that can make for a diverse team. That is when you would have embraced true diversity.

Where Inclusion is Confused

One of the biggest misunderstandings about Diversity is that it equals Inclusion but that is not always the case. The majority of brands believe that once they have ensured diversity, inclusion comes as a side serving to that. This could not be more wrong.

 Just because your company is diverse doesn’t mean you have an inclusive work environment. 

Inclusion requires separate yet coordinated efforts on its own makes. Now that a diverse team has been hired, are there systems in place to make sure their voice is heard. 

If a brand hires a diverse workforce only to make them conform to ‘the way things are done,’ they won’t reap the benefits of learning from different backgrounds and perspectives.s. In the same breath, they have invalidated all the good work they have done on diversity too.

Effective inclusion means seeking out ways to make everyone feel valued. Of course, there will be positions that have more value attached to them than the others. However, inclusion makes it such that everyone gets the level of value that correlates to their role within the company, bringing satisfaction to their work life.

Inclusion also means designing for an improved employee experience within the company. The needs of everyone should be identified – and addressed such that they feel how important they are to the brand. 

If there is a workforce that has a considerable number of staff taking some training courses, inclusion makes it possible to fashion their schedule around easy facilitation of their extra-curricular activities. For a religiously diverse workforce where some need to pray during the day, inclusion is creating a suitable space for their prayers.

The above goes beyond verbal reassurances of how you can support these employees to a physical representation of your desire to do so. That is what inclusion is all about – making the diverse range of talents on display feel equally valued.

Proper Understanding of Equity

The first step to getting equity wrong is treating everyone the same – which is equality.

A construction company that has a workforce of 500 people would be practicing equality when they order work boots in the same sizes for everyone. After all, that means that they are not making their decision based on bias. 

However, they would not have been equitable.

Let’s say the shoes ordered were in size 9. Those with size 9 feet will feel right at home. People with a size of 8 feet can also manage. The rest of the workforce will be left with something way too big or too small for them. 

Wearing such shoes to work will make life harder for them instead of easier. It is, therefore, not going to be a surprise when they don’t enjoy the same kind of work satisfaction levels as the others.

Equity means taking into account all the different shoe sizes of the employees in the workforce. Once collated, an order is placed for the exact shoe size that will fit these people.

In other words, proper equity is focusing on the individual needs of everyone in the workplace and designing to meet it.

That sounds like a lot of work for a large workforce. That is when you approach the matter from a purely unitary angle.

There will always be similarities between several employees when considering equitable distributions. You will not be addressing every need individually but in individual groups. That makes it way easier to meet the needs of your workforce.

Bringing it all Together

Now that we have killed the misconceptions and reinforced the truths, you can reassess your company’s work culture and make the necessary steps to ensure Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity.

Depending on your company, kind of services, and market, identify how you can make better on all three fronts today. As it is with any good thing, don’t rush into it at all. If you need professional help, you can reach out to a consultant at JumpRecruits to kickstart a winning Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity strategy. 

Having built our company around the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity strategy itself, we have an extensive reach and resources to make your journey smoother.

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