What is Diversity and Inclusion?

This past Monday, much of the WeSpire team was talking about the amazing ending to the Patriots’ football season. We are based in Boston, you know!

In addition to the action during the big game, we couldn’t help but notice a slightly different tone of the commercials this year. Rather than create a commercial with sex appeal or crass humor, many brands chose to highlight America’s diversity and focus on a message of inclusion.

We have a feeling that conversations about diversity and inclusion are just starting to ramp up. Most people have a general idea of what diversity and inclusion are, but in order to move the conversation forward, we wanted to set formal definitions for each of these terms.

What is diversity?

Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from another. The most commonly cited dimensions are:

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • National origin
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Education
  • Social class
  • Religion
  • Political beliefs
  • Personality type

These dimensions influence the way each of us approach our work, experience work, and live our lives outside of work. Workplaces that support the range of human differences have been shown to benefit from the innovation that stems from these diverse perspectives.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is the stage of being valued, respected and supported. Corporate inclusion programs promote and sustain a sense of belonging for all employees. It’s imperative to understand the needs of every individual in order to ensure they have the support and necessary conditions to achieve his or her potential.

What is the difference?

A commonly quoted metaphor goes, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Diversity is about the numbers and ensuring that the workforce is made up of people with a wide range of backgrounds. However, a community that is diverse but not inclusive is not successful.

Throughout the month of February, we’ll explore what makes a successful diversity and inclusion program, common pitfalls and programs that any organization can begin to implement. Stay tuned!

What does your company do to support diversity and inclusion?