The concept of a ‘workplace’ has changed irrevocably in the last decade. The corporate culture and communication models from the past no longer connect with the values of the present. Remote and hybrid workplaces have fundamentally changed when and how work is done forever. The pace of the postmodern world of work is dizzying.
And when you add digital and dynamic technology to the mix, the focus for professional environments moves towards a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are considered as the Holy Trinity of the modern workspace as it corresponds to the cultural awareness and necessities of the masses.
After centuries of bias and exploitation for all marginalized communities, 2021 is the time when your personal skillset is the only thing that keeps you ahead of the curve.
Socioeconomic status, the color of your skin, or your position on the spectrum of gender and ability should no longer define what professions you choose and how far you go in your respective field.
Exploring The Phenomena of Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion
Diversity is a subjective concept that must be measured as a whole. People may have diverse skills and experiences, but they must not be alienated for their identity that does not conform to the ‘normal’ that is known!
Individuals cannot be diverse, but teams have to be!
Candidates are not diverse individually but it is a term increasingly used to refer to people from non-dominant sections of society.
The historically underprivileged identities that deviate from the constructs of ‘man’, ‘cisgender’, ‘white’, ‘able-bodied’ or ‘English-speaking’ often get termed under the umbrella term of ‘Diversity’.
This practice of alienating the individuals into diversity leads to isolation and increased bias.
Equity helps teams find what they need individually. It is a type of process and system design that essentially upholds diversity. It provides the ‘means’ to maintain equality in the workspace.
Equal treatment of all employees would imply inequality if you do not take into account the background, ability, and experiences of the team.
While diversity brings people from different sections together to form a team, equity tries to provide equal opportunity instead of assessing people for the things that differentiate them from the rest.
Equity acknowledges differences in needs, opportunities, and experiences to provide a wholesome atmosphere for the entire team!
Inclusion points towards a system that does help people develop a bond with their employer and the team. It fulfills the esteem needs of belongingness from Maslow’s hierarchy and helps a diverse team achieve equity!
Inclusion is not a naturally occurring phenomenon, it requires effort and acknowledgment to develop inclusive practices.
Being inclusive means that you not only hire a team of graduates, you also welcome them with a swag bag, share the company resources, and invite them to the weekend activities. It is a measure of value for the individual and the team, collectively.
You may be different from your peers, but inclusion helps you all connect and coexist in the same space! It adds value to the human experience and helps the employee feel tied to the organization despite all the identities they connect with!
How Does This Equation Apply To The Current Workplace?
Lets, take the analogy of a party (pre-pandemic, lol) to illustrate an example for the D.E.I.
When everyone regardless of their race, gender, and abilities gets invited to the event you imply ‘DIVERSITY’.
When everyone contributes their recommendations for the playlist, you are choosing ‘INCLUSION’.
And when everyone has the opportunity to dance regardless of their intention and ability, then your party has achieved ‘EQUITY’.
Employees, customers and the talent pool are no longer appeased with a splash of slacktivism or performative allyship. Today, people prefer to look at the stats that back discrimination claims and salary tables that reflect on every statement being made verbally.
To be successful today, employers and employees need to understand the meanings and implications of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond common People Operations policies and programs.
There is a statistically sound business case for doing the right thing. Action focused DE&I initiatives help teams realize what they need to succeed together and it also helps businesses to prosper long-term!
My extensive experience as an HR professional and speaker will help you witness the tipping point for your perspective on diversity, inclusion, and equity. The Hidden Gem Career Coaching is always here for your assistance.