Diversity and inclusion are slightly different concepts, though the terms are often used interchangeably. Diversity is the “what,” and inclusion is the “how.” In other words, diversity in a company refers to a workforce composed of individuals from different cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, ages, and physical and neurological abilities.
Conversely, inclusion refers to the methods used to achieve diversity. It is the assurance that every person will be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their backgrounds. Inclusion creates a workplace culture where all persons have the opportunity to contribute and thrive.
Words vs. Actions
When it comes to inclusion, actions will always speak louder than words. And, CEOs have noted that while promises seem encouraging, they are easily broken and disregarded. As linguists will tell you, words can and do lead to direct action, and words and actions can work together to create social change. But, there has to be intent behind any declaration beyond looking good to stockholders and customers.
Being inclusive goes beyond making a pledge. It must become a part of everyday business environments. Many times a company may even look diverse from the outside, while the decision-makers are the same “good ole boys” at the top that have always been there. That is no longer acceptable.
The New Greenwashing?
Diversity lip-service is quite reminiscent of another ruse that many companies took part in years earlier. That concept was coined “greenwashing,” and it referred to the way some businesses actually spent more time and money marketing the idea of being sustainable than actually changing its behaviors to authentically become environmentally friendly.
The conversation around inclusion shares much of the same insincerity and redirection. While businesses speak at length about the issue, and quite loudly, unfortunately, not much actually changes. Appearances tend to seem more important to some corporations than actually making a difference.
Mandated Practices do not Promote Inclusion
It actually is not terribly surprising that most programs designed to diversify the workplace actually have the opposite effect. Since the 1960s, diversity training relied on tools like hiring tests, performance ratings, and anti-bias classes to promote inclusion. Unfortunately, forcing such concepts on workers can actually encourage prejudiced thinking where it was minimal or non-existent before. People, after all, tend to assert their rights and autonomy by rebelling against the status quo.
That said, we do have knowledge of what currently works, though the methods’ implementation needs to be more widespread. Businesses have found that recruiting employees at colleges and universities and offering mentorship programs have started to even out the playing corporate field, though there is still a long way to go.
However, real inclusion starts by giving all workers value and a voice to contribute both their ideas and concerns. It is the willingness to embrace the perspectives of others with unique views, ideas, and experiences.
The Phoenix Design Group Approach
The best companies know that diversity is an inherent strength for any business but inclusion will take them to the next level. Multiple perspectives help when it comes to problem-solving, decision-making, and other important components of meeting the world’s expectations as an organization.
We’re on a mission to transform our industry by making beautiful on-trend, gender fluid silver and gold jewellery collections, inclusion, and our ethical sourcing & manufacturing process commonplace.
If you’re a forward-thinking jewellery brand looking to align your company with a manufacturer that values sustainability, we’d love to talk with you about partnering to achieve our common goals.
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