Inclusion vs Diversity: What’s the Difference?

Inclusion and diversity are mandatory to exit in the workplace so that everyone can feel comfortable and accepted. When you have a diverse group of people, you get a more creative environment. Similarly, when you have inclusion in your workspace, this means you’re considering all employees equal regardless of their genders and race. With diversity and inclusion, you get a more robust team which will make your business thrive. If you’re interested in learning about inclusion and diversity via video, then watch below. Otherwise, skip ahead.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the practice of including everyone regardless of Racial and ethnic diversity. Gender diversity includes everyone irrespective of race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, and disability into the diverse workplace. It means that no matter who you are, you should find a place where you fit in at your company.

What is Diversity?

Diversity is often interchanged with inclusion, but there is a difference between the two. An inclusive culture is one where every person has opportunities, while variety ensures that different groups get representation in the workforce.

For example, working for an all-white board of directors is not inclusive, nor you can call it a diverse team because it does not include people of color. However, if you worked for a company and only hired white men to work on their projects, that is workplace diversity because it included women and minorities.

What’s the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion? – Inclusion vs. Diversity

Inclusion and diversity are very similar because they mean that no one misses any opportunity. They constitute what we call Inclusion diversity which focuses on creating environments where people can succeed. However, how do they differ? Let’s take a look.

1. Inclusive Means All Different Types of People

Inclusion is much broader than diversity because it includes different types of people within the same space. For example, when you say inclusive, you are referring to having transgender or someone who identifies as LGBTQIA+.

7 Pillars of Inclusion

On the other hand, diversity focuses on the differences between groups. If you want to have diverse employees, you must look at race, ethnicity, sex, age, religion, sexuality, disability, and other such factors to implement diversity in true senses to build a diverse workforce.

2. Inclusivity Is Based On Respect

When you talk about inclusion, you don’t need to respect anyone. It doesn’t matter what type of person you are; if you feel like you belong, then you do. However, diversity requires respect. The way that you treat others determines how they will respond to you. You need to respect your employees to have a respectful working environment.

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3. Inclusion Gives Opportunities to Everyone

When you talk about inclusion strategies, you are looking to create opportunities for everyone. There is no limit to who can participate in the processor decisions for your organization. For example, if your company is committed to inclusion, you would want transgender people in the boardroom because everyone should voice and be heard.

However, if you are talking about diversity, you are thinking about limiting certain groups of people. For example, you may decide to hire only women for a particular position or only people over 40 years old. Diversity is limited by the past, present, and future when you think about diversity. You consider those things when deciding who to hire.

4. Inclusion Has No Preconceived Notions

Based on stereotypes about a specific group, you cannot assume whether they will accept you or not. With inclusion, you are receiving them without any preconceptions.

With diversity, you assume something about a group before you even meet them. That is why it is called prejudice.

5. Inclusion Works Together

One of the main problems with diversity is that it relies on individuals to change themselves. Inclusion works together as it helps each individual understand their place in society. It allows them to grow and learn.

6. Inclusion Allows Individuals To Feel Accepted

One of the biggest problems with diversity is that many people don’t feel included. They feel rejected or left out of the picture. They feel like they need to change who they are to fit into a specific group of people.

An inclusive workplace is where everyone feels welcome. Everyone should have the freedom to act as themselves without being judged or ridiculed.

7. Inclusion Gives Everyone an Equal Chance

Everyone has equal access to opportunities through inclusion. Even though some people can contribute more than others, everyone gets to compete on equal basis. Having equal chances to excel in a career allows workers to find their passion and become successful.

This mindset creates healthy competition between workers. Everyone learns from their mistakes, so failure is not a bad thing. Employees aim to succeed in a workplace that encourages risk-taking and appreciates effort above results.

8. Inclusion Doesn’t Make Anyone Less Important Than Someone Else

Inclusion refers to giving all people the opportunity to shine regardless of their background. It creates a diverse work environment. The feeling of being excluded is one of the biggest reasons people leave their jobs. A workplace should make everyone feels like they belong and that they are important.

One of the biggest problems with diversity is that some people feel like they don’t belong, and others make them feel less important. It creates competition between groups of people when someone feels like they are an outsider. It leads to disengagement in the workplace. This happens in a lot of different ways, such as giving preferential treatment to certain groups or treating people based on their background without realizing it.

Examples of Diversity and Inclusion Activities in the Workplace

Here are a few examples of diversity and inclusion activities in the workplace:

1. Mentoring Programs

Mentor programs help new employees get up to speed on the job. You can find these mentorship programs online. These programs enable employees to help each other and work together.

Types of Diversity in the Workplace

2. Job Shadowing Programs

A job shadowing program allows you to see what your potential co-workers do every day. A lot of diverse companies offer this as part of their training program. This type of program help employees gets insight into specific roles. They can gain valuable experience while working with another group.

3. Peer Coaching Programs

Peer coaching programs allow you to get advice from experienced workers. Some gender diverse companies offer this as part of their employee assistance programs. It is a great way to help people grow and excel at work. It provides job satisfaction to employees that are necessary for effective teamwork. This is also a great way to promote communication among people from diverse backgrounds.

4. Workplace Events

Workplace events include everything from company picnics to holiday parties. These types of events provide excellent networking opportunities. You can expand your network and collaborate with other people in the industry.

It is an exciting method that promotes effective communication and teamwork within your company. It allows employees to spend time with each other and find common ground. It builds the foundation for strong company culture and values.

5. Company Culture

You can achieve organizational success if you promote a culture of tolerance and acceptance by having open conversations about cultural issues.

6. Education Programs

Education programs can address different topics, including diversity, inclusion, sexual harassment, and much more.

7. Volunteerism

Volunteering within the community can also help organizations promote a more diverse environment.

8. The Respect Discussion

You must encourage employees to practice respect by walking up to a colleague, introducing themselves, and talking about what respect means to each other. Respect is defined as treating others with dignity and courtesy. Examples of respecting another person include being kind, polite, helpful, considerate, respectful, fair, honest, trustworthy, and more. In simple, such programs ensure that people with different backgrounds are treated fairly.

9. Sexual Harassment Training

Sexual harassment training teaches employees how to avoid inappropriate behavior towards colleagues.

10. Employee Assistance Programs

An EAP or employee resource groups provide counseling services for employees experiencing personal difficulties such as stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc.

Corporate Social Responsibility Activities – Final Words

Corporate social responsibility is one of the most used terms today. But, what does it mean? And why is a Social responsibility officer important? As per the Oxford dictionary, “corporate social responsibility” is the idea of a corporation taking responsibility for its impact on society and the environment. So, if you have any questions regarding corporate social responsibility or diversity and inclusion, then this article is for you.

Above we have provided diversity and inclusion definition along with some diversity and inclusion examples to understand the difference between these two terms.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into a Diversity and Inclusion role, we recommend taking our Diversity and Inclusion Certification Course, where you will learn how to build your skillset in D&I, build a diverse network, craft a great D&I resume, and create a successful diversity and inclusion job search strategy.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.