Don't forget the 'Inclusion' in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

In today's rapidly evolving working world, the importance of fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within organisations cannot be overstated. While many companies are making strides in promoting diversity, the spotlight on inclusion sometimes takes a backseat.  

In today’s blog post, we'll explore why inclusion is a crucial and sometimes overlooked aspect of DEI work. Also, how it can significantly enhance the overall effectiveness and organisational impact of DEI initiatives.

Diversity: A Good Start, But Not Enough

Diversity is an important step toward building a well-functioning and dynamic workplace. Organisations recognise the need to have a workforce that reflects the world it serves. However, merely having a diverse team doesn't automatically translate into a harmonious and productive work environment. This is where the often-neglected element of inclusion comes into play. Deloitte’s research has identified a basic formula: Diversity + inclusion = better business outcomes. Simply put, diversity without inclusion is worth less than when the two are combined.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the secret sauce that transforms a diverse group of individuals into a cohesive, collaborative, and high-performing team. It goes beyond just having different voices in the room. It's about ensuring that every voice is not only heard but valued and appreciated. Inclusion is the practice of creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their background, feels welcomed, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives.

Evidence-based benefits of Inclusion

  • Boosts Creativity and Innovation: Inclusive environments encourage the flow of ideas from individuals with varied experiences and viewpoints. This diversity of thought sparks creativity and drives innovation, giving companies a competitive edge in today's fast-paced business landscape.

  • Enhances Employee Engagement: When employees feel included, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to doing their best work. Inclusive workplaces foster a sense of belonging, leading to higher job satisfaction, increased productivity, and lower turnover rates.  

  • Attracts and Retains Top Talent: Inclusion is a magnet for top talent. In today's more socially conscious world, job seekers are actively seeking workplaces that prioritise diversity and inclusion. For example, a recent ManpowerGroup report found that 56% of GenZ workers say they would not accept a job without diverse leadership. By fostering an inclusive culture, companies can attract a diverse pool of skilled professionals and retain them over the long term.

  • Improves Decision-Making: Inclusive teams are better equipped to make informed and effective decisions. A diverse range of perspectives helps identify blind spots and ensures a more thorough consideration of options, leading to better outcomes. A Cloverpop report found that diversity can increase friction by 15% but inclusion can boost results by 60%.

The Pitfall of Ignoring Inclusion

Diversity initiatives may bring people of different backgrounds through the door. However, neglecting inclusion can result in a lack of collaboration and, sometimes, friction. Without an inclusive culture, organisations risk the creation of silos, where individuals feel isolated, and their contributions undervalued.

Conclusion: A Holistic Approach to DEI

To truly maximise the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, companies should adopt a holistic approach that prioritises inclusion alongside diversity. Inclusion is the catalyst that turns diversity into a strategic advantage, fostering an environment where all individuals can thrive. As organisations continue to navigate the evolving landscape of DEI, embracing and championing inclusion will undoubtedly be the key to unlocking their full potential.

Reach out to understand how EudaOrg can help your company ensure your DEI initiatives take a holistic approach and create an inclusive culture.  

See also our recent blog on Inclusive Onboarding.  

Posted by Máire.

A diverse team of individuals sat around an office meeting room table


Cloverpop, 2017:

Deloitte Insights, 2018:

Forbes, 2019:  

Harvey, S (2013). “A different perspective: The multiple effects of deep level diversity on group creativity”. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49 (5).

Jerónimo, H.M., Henriques, P.L. and Carvalho, S.I. (2022), "Being inclusive boosts impact of diversity practices on employee engagement", Management Research, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 129-147.

Manpower Group 2023 Workforce Trends Report:

Steele, R. and Derven, M. (2015), "Diversity & Inclusion and innovation: a virtuous cycle", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 1-7.

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