What’s the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion?

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

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Diversity refers to the wide range of differences that exist among people. If an organization consisted of 100 white males, they would still be diverse in terms of age and generational differences, educational and socioeconomic background, religious beliefs, thinking and work styles. Many organizations might not be aware of the needs of their employees. Thus, while organizations may want to increase the representation of those from different racial, ethnic and gender backgrounds, they are already diverse. And it’s important to note that there is a substantial difference between diversity and inclusion, and therefore a difference between representation and inclusion. Remember, “diversity” is the noun, and “inclusion” is the verb.

black and white student clasping hands

black and white student clasping hands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inclusion refers to proactive behaviors that make each person feel welcome and a part of the organization. Organizations can be diverse in many ways, but that doesn’t automatically mean that they have created an inclusive work environment. Inclusive environments accept differences and work to create a culture of unique talents and outcomes.

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