What is Diversity and Inclusion?
In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means understanding and acknowledging, and having respect and appreciation for the different characteristics that shape an individual’s behavior, attitude and perspectives; which is generated by life experiences, gender, age, religion, education, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin. Although, laws designed to promote equality protect many of these characteristics, diversity is concerned more with the equitable treatment of differences than with equal treatment.
Equality is sameness, the result of ignoring people’s differences. Equity, on the other hand, is fairness, which comes about as a result of recognizing people’s differences. Inclusion fosters an environment where, employees, suppliers and external partners, feel heard, feel valued for their unique contributions, empowered and trusted to handle greater responsibilities, respected for who they are and supported to perform their duties. It ensures that the right structural conditions are in place for each individual to achieve his or her full potential. Inclusion should be reflected in an organization’s culture, policy, practices and partnerships. Inclusion begins by linking diversity to the fair treatment of people at work through recruiting, interviewing, hiring, coaching, performance management, promotions, equal pay, social in-groups and of course, the procurement process.
A culture of diversity and inclusiveness is the brick and mortar of any great organization. Embedded within culture is the power to recruit the best talent, retain the best talent and define an organization’s brand of leadership for decades to come.
Dicky Sykes, M.Psy.
Director of Supplier Relations and Diversity