Many organizations are aware of the benefits of diversity. A diverse workforce pushes organizations to engage with a variety of points of view, feelings, cultural experiences, and skills that can benefit internal decision making. However, while organizations are actively working to implement policies that increase diversity, they are failing to achieve inclusion, and therefore failing to realize the full potential of their diverse workforce. The question is: How do we move from diversity to inclusion?
Below, we’ve curated a collection of our best research and insights on this subject.
Diversity is a term for the range of human experiences and identities, including: race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, Indigenous status, and differences in abilities. Inclusion is putting into action the concept of diversity by creating a work environment where everyone is involved, accepted, and empowered.
A company can have diversity without achieving inclusion. If this is the case, then they’re failing to capitalize on the diverse voices, opinions, and experiences of their workforce, which can thus make the company less competitive, less able to serve the marketplace, less innovative, and increase employee turnover.
Today, many companies recognize that failing to achieve inclusion is unacceptable, however, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to this problem. While many companies are focusing on diversity training, recent research suggests that it is not always effective, particularly when it’s not paired with institutional transformations that cultivate an inclusive culture, promote behavioral change and create accountability for action. Therefore, organizations and researchers continue to search for effective and sustainable solutions to promote inclusive cultures.
Debate: Does diversity training work?
There are strong motivations for the adoption of diversity training. Making advances in diversity can lend organizations visibility and status, improve talent recruitment, customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and innovation, and, more cynically, can shield organizations from expensive lawsuits. As a result, many organizations have invested heavily in this kind of training. However, recent research has suggested that diversity training may not be effective, and can, in some cases, do more harm than good. So, what does the evidence say? Should companies invest in diversity training or not?
Rotman Short Talks series: Why progress is slow on gender parity
In this video, GATE Director, Sarah Kaplan explains why progress towards gender equality is slow. In it, she focuses on the risks of backlash and the discomfort associated with diversity.