The Concept of Inclusive Diversity

October 18, 2020, by: fbgconsulting

Anyone who publicly says that they feel a sense of discomfort with those that are different could be harshly judged. Who wants to be called discriminatory?

Anyone who request the opinion of others just to meet the organizational guidance will be questioned.  Who wants to be recognized as insincere? 

While we’re more familiar with the term diversity and inclusion, I prefer to label this practice as Inclusive Diversity. I call it inclusive diversity because the most important piece of this practice is to guarantee this diverse population that we will be purposeful in including them.

We do well in keeping diversity in mind as we conduct our business because any effort to expedite the process of increasing diversity in our companies is a good investment. The thinking behind this concept is that our efforts to focus on diversity in organizations intends to fast track a process that otherwise would take a long time to resolve itself.

Diversity should resolve itself in time, because the population is just becoming more and more diverse.  When companies go out to hire that is what they will eventually find…diversity…and so they will hire diverse. However, we shouldn’t have to wait for one or two generations to go by to be able to satisfy our aspiration of diversity. That is why we have to focus on expediting the incorporation of diversity into our organizations.

Bringing in diversity implies a strategic yet transactional action.  Inclusion on the other hand implies a sentiment, a behavior, a mindset that generally is not spontaneous and people have to work on.

Once that diversity comes to the organization there has to be an inclusive environment to receive it. That is why by using the term “Inclusive Diversity” we focus on ensuring forums where all individuals have a voice, where their opinions are requested and considered; where we make them feel a part of the company, being fully engaged and operating in a setting where they can be who they are.  That is an inclusive environment.

At times what gets in the way is simply a manager who thinks only his perspective is important and never requests the opinion of others. Other times it’s an over-zealous supervisor who tries to be overprotective of women overall or in particular when they are mothers, so they refrain from sending them on business travel or evening events. In other cases, its someone whose diversity is not accepted at some organizational level and this holds them back from opportunities.  Many times, these events happen with a good intention in mind, but the results are marginalizing.

That is why I say that inclusion implies a thought out and intentional activity. If you decide to bring in women or minorities and you do that – it doesn’t mean you’re done.  You now need to make them feel they belong. Having a behavior that allows others to feel included implies a completely different mindset.   So, as you prepare to make this a conscious action ask yourself:

  • Would this be my behavior if this person were part of a majority group (men, white, etc.)?
  • Does my action with this person or group build an inclusive environment?
  • I am expressly requesting the opinion and participation of the diverse employees in my team?

By using the term Inclusive Diversity, you ensure top of mind awareness on building an inclusive environment for the diversity you hire. Do this wisely.