Diversity and Inclusion: A Guide for HR Profession

This practical guide for HR professionals will help you foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. Discover the best practice tips and strategies and learn how to implement highly effective workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives at your company!


Diversity and inclusion: A business priority

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are no longer just a praiseworthy HR initiative. 

According to Josh Bersin from Deloitte, implementing diversity and inclusion strategies should be one of the top business priorities for all companies. 

Why is that?

Bersin by Deloitte research has found that companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.

The results of this study are amazing! Josh Bersin explains:

Among more than 128 different practices we studied, the talent practices which predict the highest performing companies are all focused on building an inclusive workplace.

The first step in building an inclusive workplace is proactively hiring diverse employees. 

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Before we jump into the best practices for building an inclusive workplace, we first need to clearly define workplace diversity and inclusion. 

What is workplace diversity?

Workplace diversity is a term used for a workplace composed of employees with varying characteristics. 

These characteristics differentiate groups and people from one another. 

Types of diversity

Most commonly mentioned types of diversity are:

What is workplace inclusion?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, inclusion is “the act of including; the state of being included.”

Thus, workplace inclusion is a term that refers to a workplace where people with varying characteristics are included in the company culture.

An inclusive workplace welcomes and supports employees who vary in characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, language, physical ability, culture, religion, education, sexual orientation, etc.  

Diversity vs. inclusion: What is the difference?

The terms “diversity” and “inclusion” are often lumped together and assumed to mean the same thing.

Though these terms are related and usually used in the same context, it is important to understand the difference between them. 

Simply put, diversity is about differences. Inclusion is about embracing those differences. 

Diversity is often used in the context of hiring diverse employees. But what do you do once you get people who are different into your company? 

This is when inclusion comes in. Inclusion is the deliberate action aimed at creating a workplace culture where all differences are welcomed, accepted and appreciated. 

In other words, it is not enough just to give diverse groups a seat at the table. You should also give them a voice and listen to them. 


Workplace diversity and inclusion benefits

Workplace diversity is more than just the right thing to do in the moral, politically correct sense. Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace has a direct and tangible effect on your company’s bottom line.

Companies with a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace outperform its competitors and achieve greater profits!

Here are the top 10 benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion:


➡️ For detailed information on workplace diversity benefits, check out our article and INFOGRAPHIC: Top 10 benefits of workplace diversity!

Workplace diversity statistics

Here are some interesting, researched-based statistics that prove the benefits of cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace: 


How to increase workplace diversity: Hire for diversity

If you want to improve diversity at your company, you should start by hiring more diverse candidates. How to do it?

Below are some great tips for attracting and hiring more diverse candidates.

How to find diverse candidates?

Here are some great, actionable strategies for attracting diverse candidates:


How to hire diverse candidates?

Here are some great, actionable tips for hiring diverse candidates:


How to cultivate an inclusive workplace: Manage for inclusion

Inclusion doesn’t happen simply because you’ve hired diverse candidates. Creating an inclusive workplace takes some effort. 

This is why having an aligned diversity and inclusion strategy with clearly defined goals is of critical importance.

Here are the 4 key points every successful inclusion strategy should incorporate:How-to-cultivate-inclusive-workplace

Leadership involvement

Here are a few good practices for ensuring a C-level involvement and support for implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives:

Policies and procedures

Incorporate diversity and inclusion principles in all your policies and procedures:

Education and training

Provide training and education for all your employees to help them understand the meaning, importance and value of diversity and inclusion:

Retention and development of diverse talent

Here are a few good practices for ensuring that diverse employees stay at your company and develop their full potential:

Diversity and inclusion best practices

A survey of more than 300 HR executives, conducted by Cornell University, found that there are several commonalities among successful diversity and inclusion initiatives. 

Here is a short list of best practices aimed at improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

Top 3 barriers to implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives 

What are the most common barriers to implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives at the workplace?

Forbes’s research has found that most companies face these 3 barriers for developing and implementing a strategy for workplace diversity and inclusion:

  1. Middle management fails to execute diversity programs adequately

  2. Budgetary issues prevent the greater implementation

  3. Too focused on survival in the current economy.

But don’t let this discourage you! Armed with information and research-based statistics from this blog post, you can prepare for facing these barriers. 

Good preparation will ensure that you tackle all of these challenges and implement your company’s workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives successfully. Good luck! 🙂

Frequently asked questions

Why are Diversity and Inclusion Important in the Workplace? 

Diversity and inclusion are crucial in the workplace because they bring various perspectives, experiences, and skills, enhancing innovation and decision-making. Companies embracing diversity and inclusion outperform their peers in profitability and productivity, making it not just an ethical choice but a business imperative.

What is the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion in a Workplace Setting? 

Diversity in the workplace refers to a workforce composed of individuals with varying characteristics such as race, gender, ethnicity, age, physical abilities, and sexual orientation. Inclusion, on the other hand, is about creating an environment where these diverse individuals feel valued, integrated, and comfortable sharing their perspectives.

How Can Companies Attract Diverse Candidates? 

Companies can attract diverse candidates by implementing strategies like sourcing candidates using diversity-focused search terms, partnering with diversity associations at universities, participating in diversity job fairs, posting job openings on diversity-focused job boards, and encouraging diverse employee referrals.

What are Some Best Practices for Cultivating Workplace Inclusion? 

Best practices for cultivating workplace inclusion include leadership involvement in diversity initiatives, incorporating diversity and inclusion into company policies and procedures, providing education and training on these topics, and focusing on the retention and development of diverse talent.

What are Common Challenges in Implementing Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives? 

Common challenges in implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives include inadequate execution by middle management, budgetary constraints, and focusing too heavily on survival in the current economy. Overcoming these barriers requires dedication, education, and a strategic approach to integrating diversity and inclusion into all aspects of the organization.

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