If your company has not seriously addressed the issues of racism, diversity and inclusion in your culture, now is the time.
Protests and riots throughout the country have dramatically captured our attention about the rights of Blacks and other people of color. This movement has spurred conversations throughout society, including in board rooms, about changing culture to address systemic racism and other “isms” so that our environment is more diverse and inclusive.
Often companies will dismiss these topics by saying, “Oh yes. We have a diverse group of people working here, and we don’t have any problems.” If this dismissive attitude sounds familiar, you have work to do in your organization. It’s likely that your leadership is not as self-aware as it needs to be.
But first, it is important to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity is a broad term that includes more than race. It means identifying and understanding the full spectrum of unique human demographic differences in race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, physical ability, lifestyle, personality characteristics, opinions, family composition and education. It entails not only hiring people from these many categories, but also appreciating what their differences mean for your company culture.
Inclusion goes beyond diversity. Inclusion means helping all your team members — regardless of their personal characteristics — to feel a part of your environment. Everyone needs to feel seen, valued and heard. To achieve inclusion, all team members must be treated fairly and respectfully and encouraged to contribute fully to your organization’s success.