Celebrate Diversity Month with us
April is known as Celebrate Diversity month, a time to honor the differences that make others unique and recognize the value diversity provides in the workplace and in life.
First, let's break down what diversity truly means. It's a complex word that can refer to a multitude of things, but also one thing all at once. It's incredibly important to try our best to avoid just labeling something or someone as “diverse” and moving on without really thinking about it. If we all took a few minutes to really think about the impact behind these words, and why they are so important…it could really change the (dare we say it) world.
Diversity goes hand-in-hand with the word inclusion. They are two words that we should have careful consideration while using, and both words, one a noun (diversity) and one a verb (inclusion), if intentionally implemented in individuals' daily lives, create positive impact that ripples thought workplaces, homes, friend groups, and neighborhoods…the list could go on. A greater awareness in the need for diversity, it continues to and should be embraced, understand there is no finish line, but continued growth and evolution.
Feminuity is an organization that partners with companies to build diverse teams, equitable systems, and inclusive products and workplace cultures. Co-founder and CEO of Feminuity Sarah Saska says, "Diversity is a relational concept. It shows up in the composition of teams and organizations, and it is measured based on a collective whole. In this way, diversity refers to “difference” within a given setting. So while a person is not “diverse,” they may bring a diverse range of experiences. From appearance to thought, likes or dislikes, and identity. Diversity of identity may relate to socialized and visible race, gender identity, religion, nationality, body shape or size, age, or sexual orientation, to name a few."
Diversity of thought is incredibly important; a reminder that the elements of what is diverse extends beyond gender, race, or age. Now, let’s chat about why the relationship between inclusion and diversity is critical. As Saska mentions in her blog post, you can practice diversity without being inclusive – because inclusion is not a natural consequence of a diverse team or organization.
This analogy really stands out: "Diversity is an 'invitation' to the party, while 'inclusion' is being asked to dance, but being asked to dance doesn’t necessitate inclusion – inclusion is about value."
She continues, "Inclusion relates to the quality of the human experience. For example, a diverse workplace acknowledges there may be people who practice their religion or spirituality during the day. Inclusion means creating a space for people to pray, meditate, or observe. By designing this space, we show people they are valued and encourage them to bring more of themselves to the workplace. To sum it up, inclusion is not a natural consequence of a diverse team or organization; we need to design for it. To do so, we must work with the people we’re designing for—from our team members to our end users—to understand what people need in policies, processes, physical spaces, and products to feel valued and included."
For more information on workplace inclusion, we recommend this Ted Talk on designing gender bias out of the workplace.
Here are a few quick interesting statistics about diversity:
The millennial and Gen Z generations are the most diverse in history: only 56% of the 87 million millennials in the country are white, as compared to 72% of the 76 million members of the baby boomer generation. (CNN Money)
Organizations with above-average gender diversity and levels of employee engagement outperform companies with below-average diversity and engagement by 46% to 58%. (Fast Company)
Companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues. (Harvard Business Review)
Statistics paint a clear picture of the importance of diversity and inclusion within companies. While the numbers are necessary, it is just as important to actively seek diversity in our daily lives with a goal of impacting others in such a positive, diverse way —that they want to do the same. Similar to a domino effect, we are responsible for making our peers feel included and for appreciating diversity. Diverse individuals, diverse thoughts, diverse ideas, diverse outcomes, all of it should be... included, in every aspect of life.
For more information about our commitment to diversity, check out our Inclusion and Diversity page.
This article was contributed by the Young Professionals Network employee resource group (ERG). Read more about our ERGs here.