Understanding the Definitions: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
In the wake of events in 2020 that highlighted social inequalities, greater attention has been focused on the idea of a diverse workplace. In turn, some organizations have expanded their approach to diversity by adding the concepts of inclusion and equity.
- For employers, Diversity refers to the goal of organizational workforces made up of employees from varied backgrounds, genders, cultures, races, ages, and other attributes. Diversity falls into two main categories:
– Visible diversity - anything that can be seen, such as race, gender, age, physical ability, or physical disability, etc.
– Invisible diversity - anything you cannot see, such as ethnicity, education level, religious beliefs, cognitive ability, etc. (One example of Invisible Diversity — Neurodiversity — is discussed in this podcast featuring topic expert Haley Moss.)
- Equity encompasses the notion that all of an organization’s employees are treated fairly and have the same barrier-free access to opportunities for development, career advancement, benefits, compensation, and other aspects of the employee value proposition. In other words, equity is about equal treatment in the workplace.
- At the heart of Inclusion is an organization’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging. That means creating a workplace environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and encouraged to participate – to be a part of the team.
Consequently, employers may refer to their internal functions or initiatives as Diversity; Diversity and Inclusion (D&I, or in some cases, I&D); or Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).