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The illusion of inclusion

joel lesko
March 12, 2019

Common mistake #1: increasing diversity means you’re increasing inclusion.
Common mistake #2: Diversity & Inclusion are kind of the same thing

This article sets the record straight:
”True inclusion must take into consideration context to determine whether it is successful. For instance, the Harvard Business Review looked at the failed attempts of big corporations to improve inclusion. They could prove they had hired a certain number of employees from particular backgrounds, but they weren’t necessarily allowing those workers to participate fully. In fact, a “filling the seats” diversity focus often led to increased bias and related behaviors among colleagues. Though they looked diverse on paper, they acted quite the opposite.”

From my experience, this is a natural outcome of focusing on content (diversity numbers) and ignoring context (inclusiveness). Some bean counters think that if the ratios look right, then the problem is solved. Wrong. It takes both. I like to say that diversifying is the science and becoming more inclusive is the art.

How do you recruit, hire and then welcome people? Does your organization have a set of values around respect and inclusiveness that everyone knows? Are those values linked to behaviors and are your performance evaluations for reward and advancement aligned with them?

Remember, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the inclusiveness. And studies are showing that the more inclusive a workplace is, the more innovative it is, too. As Steve Robbins says in our program, Inclusion Insights, “Diversity has been about counting people. Inclusion is about making people count.”

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