Inclusion and the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace

One of the biggest challenges facing HR and Talent leaders today is the rapid pace at which the workforce is changing across the globe

Generational turnover, cultural evolution, widespread immigration, emerging markets, and advancing technology have all played and will continue to play a major role in creating an increasingly complex corporate and industrial ecosystem that both breaks down old and creates new barriers to recruiting, developing, and retaining talent.

In the midst of these changes, workplace diversity has gained currency in C-suites around the world as business leaders seek to develop a more cohesive, collaborative, and creative work environment as a means of driving continued growth. What often gets lost in the conversation is inclusion, the twin component of diversity that ultimately leads to business success. To help business and talent leaders better navigate the topic, we are going to explore the definitions, benefits, state of, and best practices for diversity and inclusion in today’s workplace.


The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines diversity as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that include, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.” They break down diversity even further into two categories – visible diversity traits and invisible diversity traits. In discussions revolving around diversity, visible traits are often what is emphasized and include race, gender, physical abilities, age, and body type. Invisible diversity traits include things such as sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, education, and parental status among other things.

Inclusion, while closely related, is a separate concept from diversity. SHRM defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

It is important to establish a clear understanding of how the concepts of diversity and inclusion differ, as many well-intentioned companies have made the former a priority while neglecting the latter, leading to disappointing outcomes that often undermine the totality of diversity and inclusion efforts.


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