Solving the issue of diversity doesn’t guarantee an inclusive culture. Diversity is about whom you hire, but inclusiveness is about a work environment of trust and involvement.


Clarity of Diversity versus Inclusion

We’ve written about diversity and workplace inclusiveness in the past; since studies reflect that more clarity between the two is needed, we decided to provide additional context.

When you hear the word “diversity”, what comes to mind? Per the Bing dictionary, it can mean a “variety of something such as opinion, color, or style”, it can be “ethnic variety, as well as socioeconomic and gender variety, in a group, society, or institution”, and it can be “a discrepancy, or a difference from what is normal or expected“.

A diverse workplace must have variety. This simply means a variety of styles, behaviors, preferences, recruiting and interviewing techniques, along with addressing unique development needs for all levels across entire organizations. The work culture does not exclude differences, rather it embraces a blend of races/ethnic backgrounds, a range of ages, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc.  


We also believe it includes knowledge, acceptance, and awareness. How accepting are you of differences? Would you consider yourself and your organization to be diverse?

Before you answer, think about what comes to mind when topics related to diversity and differences surface. Do you think about race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities?

Do you also think about accents, education, physical size, spiritual orientation, and political preferences?

Differences are limitless. What’s key is our awareness and respect for how these differences strengthens our team, our organization, and our world.

We all have biases and filters. What we suggest is taking the time to examine our biases and recognize the impacts differences have on attitudes and actions with the ultimate goal to appreciate and utilize what’s different.

Studies show that diversity enhances learning; we grow our mindset when we listen, process, and understand differences (and learn our way isn’t the only way!)


Have you heard that a new C-Suite role has been added to many companies?  It’s called the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and it’s reported that 60% of Fortune 500 companies have a CDO.

The role of Chief Diversity Officer has been defined as being “responsible for creating, managing, and optimizing their work culture to be an equitable and fair environment for all employees”.  What leader wouldn’t want to optimize their work culture?


Inclusion is different from diversity.  With inclusion employees feel that they matter to both leadership and their teammates, they want to be heard and they want to be acknowledged for the value they provide. They want to be able to utilize and leverage their strengths (we call it Magic Dust®) and have career growth opportunities. As a result, when there is a sense of inclusion employees are more fully engaged and less likely to leave and go to another company.

Think about Gallup’s quote “Diversity is about whom you hire, but inclusiveness is about a work environment of trust and involvement.”  Have you heard us say “hire hard or manage hard”?  This is one piece of creating the type of work culture where everyone can grow and flourish. New hires have to be a good fit for your team; consider experience, skill-set, attitude, commitments, accountability and collaboration.

If afforded the opportunity, it also helps to have a well-balanced team based on assessment results. Consider Myers-Briggs (MBTI) types, DiSC workplace styles, team roles, and communication styles. Leveraging individual strengths from team members not only helps achieve desired results, it also reduces attrition and increases satisfaction levels.

Have you observed a variety of leadership skills, traits and behaviors within your organization? Do you relate equally to all styles? Do you find all of them effective? Chances are “no”.

What Can Leader’s Do?

As leaders, investing the time and energy to hire the right person(s) for your team will save you time.  Either you expend the time on the front end, or you’ll be spending time on the back end for managing issues that will likely arise when team members are not a good fit.

It’s also advantageous to view our staff as people, not just as an employee or consultant. There’s a constant need to keep people engaged, and for team members to have a sense of belonging.  Gallup reports that 33 percent of American workers are engaged at work, 52 percent claim they just show up, and 17 percent say they are actively disengaged. That plays into the role of inclusiveness; being understood, valued, and cared about.

As a leader we can influence these numbers. What are you doing to learn more about your team members and help the team learn more about one another? Don’t neglect getting to know your team on a personal basis, it makes a difference!

Retaining talent is a challenge; as leaders we have opportunities to create a work culture that is both diverse and inclusive.  How successful are you? Do you have a CDO (or someone that fills that role), and does your business strategy include diversity and inclusion?

What can YOU change to reap the benefits of having a diverse and inclusive workplace?