What is a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace?

Posted September 18, 2015 by

Companies who value differences and new ideas appreciate diversity and inclusion. These concepts show acceptance of people for who they are, while creating a work environment where employees feel appreciated. It is important for employers to realize that diversity and inclusion are different parts in building a workplace where everyone matters.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. In today’s article, Beth Zoller discusses what it means to have a diverse and inclusive workplace.

beth p. zoller

Beth Zoller, Legal Editor at XpertHR

“Although often lumped together, diversity and inclusion are two different concepts. It is important for an employer to not only strive to have a diverse workplace, but an inclusive one as well.

Diversity is the collective mixture of differences and similarities including individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors. Diversity includes various experiences, views and perspectives arising from differences in race, sex, religion, culture, national origin, abilities, age, sexual orientation, personal appearance (i.e., height, weight) and other characteristics as well as work experience, educational status, marital status, geographic location, background and upbringing, socioeconomic status, politics, military experience, and learning style. Essentially, it covers the full spectrum of human differences, physical characteristics, life experiences and personal preferences and may involve how an individual views himself or herself and how the individual views others. Diversity goes beyond legal parameters and is not required under federal, state, or local law.

On the other hand, inclusion focuses on whether the employer’s workplace makes diverse employees feel integrated instead of isolated. An employer can have a diverse workplace without having an inclusive culture. In an inclusive workplace, the employer develops and maintains a culture in which it is clear that the employer values diversity; diverse employees feel included in the workforce and believe they have an equal opportunity for success and one in which employees feel comfortable, welcome, and valued. An inclusive culture can be created and maintained through policies and practices set by the employer.”

Bio: Beth P. Zoller is the legal editor for the discrimination, affirmative action, harassment, retaliation, employee privacy, and employee handbooks/work rules/employee conduct content in the employee management section of XpertHR. Prior to joining XpertHR, Beth practiced law for more than 10 years representing employers with respect to employment discrimination and harassment claims, contractual disputes, restrictive covenant issues, family and medical leave, wage and hour disputes and a variety of other employment-related claims.

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