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A Primer: Why do we Need Workplace Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion efforts within organizations are up. But, so are incidents of perceived discrimination. The public trusts and expects corporations to drive social change. Creating and promoting a company culture that respects and celebrates all employees must be a top priority for all employers. 

Adding diversity and inclusion training in the workplace is but one piece of the DEI puzzle. Read on to learn more about how hiring managers can profoundly impact their team and organization’s performance.

Prioritizing DEI in 2021

Corporate diversity and inclusion efforts have increased in the past few years. It’s been the very public and graphic events of late, however, that have spurred organizations, public figures, and civic leaders to take action. The significance is extraordinarily clear--  diversity & inclusion training is no longer optional

A majority of U.S. employed adults feel it’s very important to work at

an organization that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. 

Source: CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey, April 2021

Individuals are clamoring for their equal right to opportunity. Female, black, of asian or latin descent, LGBTQ, older, millennial, purple-haired, or differently-abled-- they also want to bring their authentic selves to work. The corporate world is not merely taking notice. It is leading society’s equalization and inclusion efforts. 

Organizations Know That ‘Doing Good’ is Good for Business

Diversity and inclusion efforts offer financial success and recession protection for organizations.  McKinsey found that the greater the representation, the higher the likelihood of outperformance. When team members feel included, it impacts their ability to contribute. They more easily voice opinion, overperform, and work collaboratively--  all of which drives team performance.

Workplace authority Great Place to Work, even found that equity and inclusion predicted which companies would thrive or falter during a recession. 

Diversity and inclusion increases team building and employee engagement.  Diversity has long been the answer for successful employee engagement. When employees feel heard and valued, they are more engaged and satisfied.

Even job sites are reacting to the trend. Employer review site Glassdoor is now including a rating for worker’s satisfaction with DE&I at current or former companies. According to an April 2021 CNBC/SurveyMonkey survey, more than half of over 8,000 polled say it’s very important to them to work at an organization that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. 

Diversity drives strategic thinking and innovation in the workplace.  Workplace diversity is not simply defined by an employee’s outward appearance. It's the comprehensive differences in people that makes someone unique. This includes their thinking, beliefs, perspectives, values, and ways of problem solving. The more perspectives can be brought to the table, the more ways a problem can be analyzed or ideas created.

Microaggressions - What are They?

Microaggressions are the micro invalidations of a person’s worth. The chipping away of their confidence and value. According to a Business Insider article, microaggressions are “indirect, often unintentional expressions of racism, sexism, ageism, or ableism. They are a form of racism that come out in seemingly innocuous comments by people who might be well-intentioned.” 

To put it somewhat more simply, microaggressions are the usually small-- "throw away”-- comments of bias that’ve been taken for granted in society. 

A microinvalidation can include mispronunciation of a person’s name. It may be surprising to you but miscommunicating a person’s name can be another form of unconscious bias. Whether the misstatement is intentional or not.

When repeated with frequency, the little “mistake” rises to the level of microaggression. Consider when individuals do not make the effort to properly learn, respond with quips or make jokes (or even songs!). The receiver is immediately humiliated and invalidated.

The pain of microaggressions has a broad impact. Both the receiver and those overhearing the painful remark can become distressed. Left unchecked, unconscious bias in the workplace infects the working environment. Moreover, it inhibits the development of an inclusive culture.

Aren’t Diversity and Inclusion the Same Thing?

Diversity and inclusion are not interchangeable concepts. One without the other is not enough. Diversity is about the composition of an organization. Inclusion is about how the organization values and treats different types of people’s contributions.

According to research from Deloitte, organizations with inclusive cultures are:

  • 2X as likely to meet or exceed financial targets
  • 3X as likely to be high performing
  • 6X as likely to be innovative and agile
  • 8x as likely to achieve better business outcomes

There you have it. Diversity is important to individual and organizational success. One does not flourish at the expense of the other. On the contrary, there is a synergy that exists.

Training for diversity and inclusion can help bolster your organizational culture framework. Intentionally hiring for diversity, sets up the conditions for your diverse hires to thrive.

So once you've conscientiously hired for a diverse team, how do you retain team members? Inclusive leadership is key here. Inclusiveness has a direct impact on team performance. Team members are 17% more “high performing” under the management of an inclusive leader.

To learn more about unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, read our article 

The Other Half of D&I Initiatives: Inclusive Leadership Training

More articles about diversity and inclusion:

Diversity and Inclusion Training is no Longer Optional

Strategic Thinking and the Power of Diversity

Ready to learn how hiring for diversity can make your team more successful? has hundreds of DEI courses to choose from. Let us help connect you to the right provider.

Browse and compare diversity and inclusion training courses

About the Author

Rama Eriksson is a Content Editor at Her writing is complemented by 15+ years as a marketing professional. She brings her experience and curiosity to connect professionals to the right training to help further their goals.  Originally from the New York area, Rama has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2010.

rama eriksson

Last updated: 07 Jun 2021

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