Can you tell the difference between diversity and inclusion? More and more companies initiate D&I programs every year. But in these early interventions, they tend to overlook the second constituent of D&I or use both interchangeably.
They are so very different.
- Diversity is the collective mixture of the differences and similarities. This includes, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors. Diversity focuses on variety.
- Inclusion is the achievement of a work environment. There, all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success. Inclusion focuses on contribution.
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Diversity alone is not enough to reap business benefits. As organizations deepen their understanding of D&I, inclusion is the key contributing factor towards enhanced team and organizational performance. Gartner research reveals that inclusive teams unlock diversity benefits by improving team performance by up to 30% in high diversity environments. Similar to diversity, inclusion cannot happen by means of policy or personal initiative, it requires structured interventions across the organization.
When it comes to technology support, vendors are starting to understand the importance of D&I. There is a lot of activity in their product roadmaps and positioning. But the vast majority still looks at diversity, not inclusion. This is the reason why we decided to focus our latest research, with colleagues Melanie Lougee and Jason Cerrato, on technologies that are critical for Inclusion in the workplace (Gartner client access required).
We identified 13 technologies that can significantly enhance – today – the effectiveness of interventions to diagnose the current state of inclusion, develop leaders who foster inclusion, embed inclusion into daily business execution and recruit inclusion-ready people. But it is not always obvious that vendors will be positioning these technologies within the inclusion context.
I will be presenting this research during the Gartner ReimagineHR events in London (5-6 September) and Orlando (28-30 October). There, I would love to hear your experiences about the state of inclusion in your organizations and the programs you are working on. After all, inclusion actualization is a long term game, not a quick fix.