Diversity, Inclusion and Equity in the Workplace


Diversity, inclusion and equity are critical elements of every recruitment and retention strategy. Phyton Talent Advisors explains what this really means and the benefits of creating a diverse, inclusive and equity workplace.

Diversity in the workplace means that an organization employs a diverse team of people that’s reflective of the society in which it exists and operates.

Diversity incorporates all of the elements that make individuals unique from one another, and while there are countless differences in humans, most of us subconsciously define diversity by a few social categories, such as gender, race, age and so forth.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws to protect individual employees in the workplace based on specified social categories that commonly face discrimination in American culture. These social categories are typically defined in some version of a Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy, such as this one by the US government:

“The United States Government does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factor.”

There are certainly more visible and invisible elements that make individuals diverse from one another than those defined by these statements, but these broad categories can help companies identify gaps in diversity. They also provide measurable metrics for companies to set goals and make concerted efforts to boost diversity in the workplace.

Although often used in tandem with diversity, inclusion is a concept of its own.

Inclusion is defined as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.”

The notion of equity accepts that biases and obstacles exist for many that do not exist for others. Essentially it means realizing that we don’t all begin on an even playing field and then working to compensate for that fact. Achieving equity in the workplace requires actively correcting for the disparity – or inequity – of advantages enjoyed by some and not others.

To be clear, equity is not the same thing as equality. “The goal of equality is to make sure that everyone has the same things to be successful. It is similar to equity in that it is seeking fairness for everyone, but it assumes that everyone starts equally as well.”

While employees should be treated equally when it comes to rewards based on merit and work, helping various employees get to the point at which they can do their best work may require the implementation of a variety of support systems.

Focus on incorporating diversity, inclusion and equity into your workplace structure and you will create an environment that benefits your firm as a whole and each of your diverse array of employees.