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Diverse vs. Inclusive Workplaces - What's the Difference?

Employees, customers and shareholders all have their eyes on companies to do better regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. With DEI being a top priority for companies, does management really understand the difference between being diverse and being inclusive?


The Difference

To put it simply, diversity is the "what," and inclusion is the "how."


Diversity is what makes everyone different - our race, ethnicity, age, gender, education level, marital status and more. It can be measured.


Inclusion is how you make everyone in an organization feel welcomed and safe. Creating an inclusive culture is much more than hiring a diverse group of people. It takes thought and attention.


When companies are simply trying to check off the diversity box, they fall into a cycle of hiring based on surface-level traits. While this may be a quick way to boost an organization's diversity scores, it may be doing more harm than good.


Instead of hiring based on the fact that someone is Black or a woman, companies should position themselves as an inclusive workplace. Not only will this improve the morale of current employees, but it also attracts new talent (and, most of the time, diverse talent). Inclusion can take on many forms within a company. Just a few ways that companies have started to value inclusion are employee resource groups, training programs and reevaluating corporate policies. When companies give everyone the resources they need and equal opportunities, people feel needed and valued. While every company is bound to have some diversity, they must choose to be inclusive.


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