If you Google the term ‘diversity and inclusion’, quite a few of the most prominent results are links to the distinction between the two words, an indication that organisations might still be struggling with how to define this term, what it means and how to achieve it in a workplace.
In Amec Foster Wheeler we want diversity and inclusion to become embedded and embraced as part of our way of doing business. We define diversity as all visible and invisible differences that make people the individuals that they are. However, diversity would mean nothing without inclusion, which is creating and maintaining a work environment and culture where all individual differences are respected, encouraged and valued. We call this diversity of thought, which is much more than the traditional approach as it represents diversity of opinions, thought processes, style at work, and relationships, to name but a few; basically, it is a result of everything that has had an impact on us individually to date.
Why is this important? Greater diversity and inclusion brings benefits to both employees and the business; it can stimulate innovation, spur insight and increase efficiency, which also contributes to creating a culture open to new ideas, improved employee engagement and business that prospers. The benefits extend beyond this and can enhance external perception of the brand and reputation.
The demographic changes happening globally require leaders to be more open-minded and flexible in order to attract the next generation of prospective employees from a wider pool and from diverse backgrounds, and to support the inclusive environment. Diversity and inclusion is becoming a necessity in a workplace – embracing it should be a way of life for a company and an ingrained part of its very DNA.
Just as Stephen Covey, an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker, once said: “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities”. So, how does your company stack up when it comes to diversity and inclusion?
Head of Global Communication, Amec Foster Wheeler