Workplaces are a microcosm of our beautifully diverse world. Your employees are the hearts, hands, and minds of your business. They own tribal knowledge and understand cultural nuances. They established your social license to exist and operate in their communities. They are your competitive advantage.
When you let your employees know that you see them, you hear them, and you value their unique cultural authenticity, you improve their lives. When you afford them equitable opportunities for their continued advancement, you improve your business. When you wield your power to extend those same efforts beyond your business, you effectually improve the world.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is the work of all. America's workplaces must create integrated strategies that engages all their employees from the cubicle to the boardroom.
Before you determine your organizations' needs, I'll share my foundational understanding of diversity. I define diversity as a quantifiable measurement of all the ways we differ. It refers to characteristics that make us unique like ethnic background, color, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, educational background, and mental and physical abilities. There can be no inclusion without diversity. It's the first step to creating workplace inclusion.
Today’s executives must hold themselves and their organizations accountable to hiring employees from marginalized groups. They must disrupt biases that have too long stood in the way of their employees’ success and upward mobility. And they must build and integrate research-based inclusion strategies that empower their workforce to provide innovative, profitable, and responsible products and services to society.
A few questions to consider:
Recognizing that we all start at different places. Meeting employees where they're at and providing various levels of support and opportunities to achieve fair outcomes.
A perception and feeling of belonging and being valued for being the full authentic expression of your culture and self.
My research showed that inclusion alone does not yield equity. Inclusion without equity was merely a fleeting illusion. Equally illuminating, equity without inclusion forced workers to mask their authentic selves and assimilate.
Employees ultimately want equision. Equision affords marginalized employees the opportunities they need to be successful while simultaneously creating a sense of belonging and value for their authentic expression of self.