What comes to your mind when you think of diversity? People from different cultures, geographies, colour, race, gender, and so on. Well, the conversation has moved beyond these today. From thoughts to beliefs, from education to skills, from sexual orientation to dietary habits, the diversity of all of it is becoming visible today. Being different is not a sudden development. We have always been different. What is becoming important today is a conversation around these differences. There is an increasing realization in the modern workplace – it is important to acknowledge each other’s differences. Diversity is as much real in the professional space as it is in our personal life. Organizations across the globe are taking initiatives to build a diverse workplace. Why this increased emphasis on a dialogue on diversity and inclusion? What does it mean to be a part of a diverse workplace? Let’s discuss these issues in this article.
What is not Diversity and Inclusion?
Is diversity just about preparing a policy and then compliance? In that case, it would be seen as a challenge or goal for the company.
Diversity and inclusion are transformational in nature, it is an idea that keeps on evolving. Not merely tolerance or sensitivity. Or is it about the special treatment of a certain group of people? Is the conversation limited solely to multiculturalism? If we are not taking everyone along, are we really discussing diversity and inclusion? This is a question that oil and gas employers must look deep into.
“In simple terms, diversity is the mix and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.” – Global Diversity Practice
To understand the importance of a diverse workplace, it is important to recognize what is and what is not diversity and inclusion.
Understanding a Diverse Workplace
Surrounds many visible and invisible human traits
Today, diversity means so much more. It’s not just gender, race, religion, colour, anymore. These are perhaps the obvious elements of diversity. But there are many aspects of diversity in human behaviour and traits – both visible and invisible. This subject also includes your thoughts, your religious beliefs, political views, age, lifestyle, sexual orientation, cultural background, and so on. A diverse workplace takes into account all these and works towards bringing inclusiveness in the work culture. While diversity becomes a way of life, inclusiveness involves organizational efforts. Consequently, for better efforts and a more inclusive workplace, the area of focus for diversity needs to widen too.
A Leadership Priority
Those days are long gone when organizational changes were initiated by only the Human Resources. Now, the top management also needs to actively participate in building a diverse and inclusive work culture.
“Delivering through Diversity”, a report by McKinsey, has identified Executive Leadership Commitment as one of the four crucial focus areas for delivering high value and impact through diversity and inclusion.
“CEOs and leaders must articulate a compelling vision, embedded with real accountability for delivery, and cascade down through middle management.” – McKinsey
Diversity is meaningless without Inclusion
“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” – VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix and Founder, The Vernā Myers Company
Harvard Business Review, in one of its recent articles, talks about various studies that clearly reflect – “diversity alone doesn’t drive inclusion”.
The problem that generally resurfaces is that diversity and inclusion are often assumed to be the same thing. Well, that’s not how it is. When we talk about workplace culture, diversity is about representation. Without any prejudices and without any biases. However, without inclusion, attracting diverse talent, encouraging their participation, innovation and business growth, would remain just in theory.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Energy Dais.)