Diversity and inclusion executives are professionals tasked with supporting diversity in businesses. However, most people think only of the hiring process when they think of diversity management. In reality, diversity executives have many responsibilities.
Read on to learn about diversity and inclusion executives, including what they do to support diversity in businesses and the challenges they face.
Diversity vs Inclusion
Even though “diversity” and “inclusion” seem like synonymous terms, they apply to business differently. “Diversity” means that a business hires people of different backgrounds, including not only race but gender, age, religion, nationality, sexuality, wealth, and more. Diversity is a measurable fact.
Inclusion, on the other hand, is more abstract and cannot be measured. Inclusion involves the comfort and satisfaction of diverse employees. Inclusion is reflected in business practices on a company level, as well as in the attitudes of leaders and employees.
For example, a business can support diversity by hiring employees who speak multiple languages and then fail to be inclusive by criticizing them for speaking their native language in the breakroom.
The Duties and Responsibilities of Diversity & Inclusion Executives
To make sure this doesn’t happen, diversity and inclusion executives develop, sponsor, and initialize programs that increase diversity and make sure diverse employees feel included.
These programs could include training employees to respect diversity or changing cafeteria food to reflect the preferences of other employee groups. Inclusion executives may try to help people with religious observances receive different schedules.
They may try to make other employees aware of what is termed “unconscious biases,” which may be affecting who the hiring manager selects for employment. They may also sponsor employee groups based on interests like sports or inclusion characteristics such as sexuality or gender.
Diversity and inclusion executives work in every area of a business from talent pipelines to daily management to ensure that diverse employees are hired and that these employees are satisfied with their treatment.
Alternatives to Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
Diversity and inclusion in business are not new terms, but their applications are constantly changing. There is a margin of error in creating inclusion initiatives and some businesses have created alternatives to conventional approaches.
For example, consider the case of Deloitte, a large accounting firm. They are phasing out employee advocacy groups, gender-specific initiatives, and other traditional inclusion groups. You may be wondering why.
Deloitte’s employees, many of which are millennials, don’t approve of being pigeonholed by their demographics into different treatment. Additionally, inclusion initiatives can prevent people in the majority demographic from hearing what anyone else has to say – they’re all meeting in separate groups.
Deloitte decided, as some companies have, that trying to get everyone into the same room having the same conversation is more inclusive than separating people into minute demographics.
Diversity and inclusion executives have important jobs in the modern workplace. They not only ensure that businesses hire diverse employees, but also create programs to make those employees feel included.
However, there is not only one kind of inclusion. Many companies seek ways to create an inclusive workplace without dividing people by demographics. The important thing to note is that diversity and inclusion are not standards set in stone – they are fluid interpretations of the modern workplace, made in the hope of increasing employee happiness and productivity.
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