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Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Shaila Man
Oct 10
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Sarah McCarthy held a highly insightful and thought provoking workshop at Lookahead HQ on the topic of DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION in the workplace.

Diversity is the mix of people in an organisation, as in all the differences between people in how they identify socially and professionally.

It was really interesting to hear about the differences between TOLERANCE, ACCEPTANCE and INCLUSION, and something we might not have really considered before.

TOLERANCE being whereby you just put up with another person but might not be happy to.
ACCEPTANCE is an internal allowance for another person.
INCLUSION is proactive and makes sure that someone knows they are included …ie we see you.

Everyone have different positions of power in different parts of their lives. And it’s up to us to include people when we are in a position of power.

DIVERSITY is identifying there are different people in the room.
INCLUSION is proactively integrating the differences.
Added together and you get a superior outcome.Another thought provoking discussion was

Another thought provoking discussion was VISIBLE IDENTITY and NON-VISIBLE IDENTITY. Again something that might not occur to you on a conscious level. An example would be Colour vs Mental health.
VISIBLE IDENTITY is easy to spot and cannot easily be hidden.
NON-VISIBLE IDENTITY is harder to spot and can be hidden.
Statistics show that you are 30% less efficient in your job when you have to hide part of your identity. Therefore company policies should include everyone and no one should have to be asked to be included.

~ You represent the community you serve ~

Diverse groups of people show different perspectives and give better products. For example, the multi-cultural industry is largely untapped and worth a whopping $75m!

Sarah talked about PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY too. So you can have diversity, but without psychological safety, it doesn’t work. Psychological safety is a term coined by Amy Edmonson, and defined as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking”. In other words, team members are not risking their job or being reprimanded for expressing a diverse opinion.

Google’s 2015 study called ‘PROJECT ARISTOTLE’ found that psychological safety was the most significant success factor for high-performing teams across the organisation. Team members were more likely to share novel information or challenge others in psychologically safe teams. The study also found that employees were less likely to leave Google when they were in psychologically safe teams, and bought in more revenue.

~ More than one woman on a board increases financial viability of a board ~

Another interesting point was about CULTURE FIT.
What is Culture Fit? It seems that culture fit sets out to get you more of the same. What companies would be better off aiming for is CULTURE ADD, and VALUES FIT.

Inclusion in a workplace is achieved when a diversity of people feel:
RESPECTED - Their efforts are acknowledged and their uniqueness valued
BELONGING - They are accepted, and have opportunities to form positive connections
EMPOWERED - Accomodations are made for their unique needs
FAIR PROGRESSION - They get a fair chance at achieving their full potential

~ Privileged people cannot be discriminated against ~


GENDER DISCRIMINATION is a huge problem. Currently women are paid 63% of what men are paid globally. It’s estimated that it will still take another 201 years before equal pay is achieved. The largest obstacle is men. It doesn’t affect them, so the majority show little interest.

UPSTANDERS are important to an inclusive environment, they respond to someone who says something discriminatory. Because doing and saying nothing has an impact.

Policies are often a good place to start such as flexible working, bullying and harassment, etc.It’s good to continue asking questions and listening, seeking out differences, checking your impact and being visible and vocal.You can follow Sarah here:

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