Over 30 years ago, starting in the early 1980s, diversity first became a popular buzzword and topic. Since then, Fortune 500 corporations, government agencies at all levels, and large and small nonprofit organizations have all been doing “diversity work.” Various components of diversity have been added to elementary and secondary school curricula and courses that focus on diversity are being offered—and required—on many college campuses.
What do you think of when hearing the word ‘Diversity’. An unassuming word association may apply to the word ‘Different’. The word ‘Different’ almost every time has an undesirable overtone related with it. The word ‘Diversity is also applied to the derivation of words like ‘Div-ided’, ‘Div-ision’, ‘Div-arication’ meaning ‘separation or into’.
WISHRM defines diversity as difference. The premise is that differences in perspectives, experience, backgrounds, etc., can offer benefits to any organization. While diversity referred to race and gender, today it is much more. Although these two aspects are very important and laid a foundation, it became apparent there were numerous ways in which we differed. At times there can be barriers between co-workers due to cultural, educational, functional, regional, or even style differences.
Accordingly, when the majority of people in the workplace hear diversity are they two steps away from disapproval or going their separate ways? Not everyone associates diversity to negativity. There were some other pleasing words that come up to explain diversity like; ‘Variety’ ‘Change’ and ‘ Transformation’ just to mention a few.
These dimensions make us individuals and allow us to make unique contributions to the success of the organizations we belong to; no matter where we come from, who we are, or what our background is, there is a place for all of us.
So, why have employers held onto the word if they are trying to bring people together? Are employers truly presenting the concept of diversity correctly in order to create unity?
Now there is a new word ‘Inclusiversity’ that is rapidly and widely being accepted and applied in workplaces. The word is intended to clarify the intent of any blended group, team or project. This choice of wording is first and foremost intended to include others, include different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds.
Inclusive organizations encourage and harness similarities to make their services relevant and approachable. An inclusive organization draws upon the widest possible range of views and experiences, so it can listen to, and meet, the changing needs of its customers, staff, shareholders, vendors, partners and supporters.
By using the term ‘Inclusiversity’ along with pursuing greatness, employers can appreciate a positive momentum in their work place. All employers should be reminded that ‘Inclusiversity’ is the quest for improvement, growth and profit by linking the differences of everyone.
Why Embrace ‘Inclusiversity’?
Inclusiversity enriches organizations. It is blending an environment that elicits the very best from employees that is fundamental to the success of any employer.
We learn from experiences, beliefs, and perspectives that may be different from our own and these lessons can be taught best in a richly comprehensive, intellectual and social environment.
It plays a key role for employers, because it impacts interactions between staff. Employer Inclusiversity should be reflected in the workforce like in the customers/clients they serve.
An employer’s goal is to promote an inclusive organizational culture through its’ training and corporate culture that integrates differences in order to enhance innovation, quality of service, and teamwork providing an economic impact.
It provides for the combination of;
Humans……. (race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age)
Cultures……. (language, religion, class, ethics, values)
Systems……. (organizational role, function and culture, geographic location)
It promotes personal growth and a healthy workplace by fostering mutual dignity and teamwork. ‘Inclusiversity’ encourages critical thinking; and helps employees learn to communicate effectively with people of varied backgrounds.
It enhances an employer’s economic competitiveness by effectively using through ‘Inclusiversity’ the talents and abilities of all employees regardless of their backgrounds and cultures.
WI State Council Director of Diversity and Inclusion