Diversity & Inclusion – there is a difference.

Diversity & Inclusion – there is a difference

There has been so much written about the importance of positive culture in the workforce which has been directly linked to employee engagement and retention as well as attracting new talent.

A positive company culture has typically been associated with;

  • Well defined set of company values which people follow
  • Reward & recognition
  • Career advancement opportunities
  • Being heard (open communications)
  • Learning opportunities
  • Mental health awareness

In business today, diversity and inclusion are used in the same sentence and in some cases, as interchangeable words.

This is not quite right – there is a very big difference between diversity AND inclusion.

What is Diversity

Simply stated, diversity in the workplace describes the differences in personal, physical, and social characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, age, and education.

What is Inclusion

Inclusion refers to the effort’s organisations implement to integrate everyone in the workplace to coexist in a mutually beneficial way.

Diversity & Inclusion are not the same

The goal of inclusion strategies is to make everyone feel accepted and comfortable, ready to share their opinions and thoughts without hesitation.

For many years, businesses have been fixated with meeting diversity ‘quotas’ – such as; number of females in the workplace, or number of females in senior management/board positions.

While this move is very positive, many businesses have fallen short of INCLUDING their employees in the business.

Diversity efforts are concerned with who is included – diversity efforts should not be confused with creating an inclusive environment.

The problem with diversity and inclusion is that it tends to be an afterthought for companies – typically driven by complaints from those within the business who are either unhappy or marginalised.

I would also mention that the concept of diversity and inclusion is not a ‘big business’ problem – given that small-medium business employ close to 50% of the eligible workforce, the responsibly of SMEs to also ensure not only diversity, yet inclusion, is very important and will be a critical factor in them attracting talent.

While moving from having a culture of diversity to inclusivity is a journey and a continuum, here are some simple steps any business of any size can take to keep moving along the spectrum.

Cultivating a culture of inclusiveness


We’re all human and we’ll rarely get it right from day one – so start by being transparent within your business.

If you state your business in all-inclusive and yet your actions don’t support this, then that’s a fail.

However, if you state your intentions are to be a more inclusive business and ask for suggestions on how the business can change to be so, then you are much more likely to gain deep and meaningful insights.

Work with allies

In other words, find those within the business that are supportive of your intentions and work with them to figure out ways to implement inclusivity.

Just the act of consulting and working with others in the business will already demonstrate your willingness to have a more inclusive community within your business.

Accept critical and uncomfortable feedback

It’s said that the only way we can grow is through tough love – which means hearing and accepting feedback and advice which we may not want to hear.

As humans (and business owners/managers), we may think we’re doing the right thing, however, that’s only through our own lens.  Objective feedback is the reality check we all need.

Recruitment Australia works with small-medium business to attract high calibre candidates and we work with you to develop, refine and implement your company culture, policies and values to ensure you retain your talented workforce.


For more information please contact Roxayne West at Recruitment Australia  on +61 29634 5912 or send your queries to info@recruitmentaustralia.net.au