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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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1 Defining diversity and inclusion

Although diversity and inclusion are closely linked and often discussed at the same time, they are actually distinct terms for different concepts. You’ll explore each of them in more detail in this section.

Graphic showing lots of different faces.

In its ‘4-step guide to diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace’, consulting firm Korn Ferry (2021, p. 3) provides useful explanations of some key terms.

Diversity = ‘the mix’ – encompassing the full range of human differences and similarities, both identity-based and cognitive.

Inclusion = ‘making the mix work’ – unlocking the power of diversity. This includes both behavioural inclusion (inclusive mindsets, skillsets and relationships), and structural inclusion (equitable and transparent structures, practices, policies, and algorithms).

Equality = ‘the promise’ – equal access to opportunity, advancement, support and reward for all.

Equity = ‘the fulfilment of the promise’ – the removal of any behavioural and structural barriers in fulfilling the promise.

Listen to Asif Sadiq explaining why equity is such an important part of this agenda.

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To Atcheson (2021, p. 13), diversity means ‘that there is an array of differences existing in one place, together’. She goes on to explain that ‘people are not singularly diverse, groups are’.

Diversity is a complex and multifaceted topic, but there are ways to categorise different types of diversity that might help to simplify the concept.