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Opinion: Making workplaces truly welcoming

www.telanganatoday.com | October 10, 2023

Inclusion is not just hiring people because they look and sound different, it is genuinely being aware of and questioning one’s implicit bias
“Ableism looks like calling people ‘inspiring’ for navigating a system that is designed for exclusion while doing nothing to hold the system accountable” – Carson Tueller

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson rightly stated, “Inclusion is not about being politically correct. It is the key to growth”. Inclusion is a crucial step towards progress and development in all aspects of our daily lives. It means that people of different identities are accepted, included, respected, heard, represented and appreciated. Inclusion calls for actively identifying and eliminating structural and other impediments as well as persistently and systemically supporting equity and social justice within the organisation.

Diversity is more than race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. When talking about diversity in organisations, are we also giving equal emphasis to the broad range of employee experiences, including but not limited to socioeconomic background, upbringing religion, marital status, education, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, disability and life experiences?

Diversity and Inclusion

There are many organisations where individuals from diverse backgrounds coexist, yet only some groups’ ideas are valued or have any authority over others. This is referred to as diversity and not inclusivity. Diversity and inclusion are intertwined concepts, yet they are not interchangeable. However, many of us are still unaware of this and believe that we are actively fostering inclusivity.

A diverse and inclusive workplace is one in which everyone feels equally included and supported in all parts of the workplace, regardless of who they are or what they do for the company, with no forms of implicit or explicit bias and discrimination taking place over one group. The phrase “all areas” is crucial here.

Have you ever wondered if the organisation you work for is as diverse and inclusive as you may have believed or as the organisation may have portrayed?

It is possible for an organisation to be diverse without being inclusive and vice versa. Both of which can hamper the organisations’ culture. Is your workplace diverse in terms of hiring, recruiting, promotion and leadership? Maybe it is time to think again and think deeply this time.

According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity to be important when evaluating employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. It is heartbreaking to see outstanding organisations flourishing in their specialised fields and receiving enormous respect and acclaim, still adhering to archaic and conventional methods when it comes to genuine inclusive practices.


Token Inclusivity is when organisations “pretend” to be inclusive in order to be perceived as cutting-edge and as ideal workplaces for all types of people. It is the practice of doing something (such as hiring someone from a minority group) solely to avoid criticism and create the idea that people are being treated fairly (Sherrer, 2018). Nowadays, tokenism can be found almost everywhere, yet it is extremely unfortunate when it is used to manipulate people’s emotions at work to give them or the large public an illusion of fair representation when the reality is a stark contrast.

This is definitely not to say that efforts haven’t been made to promise diversity and fairness, but their execution has never been successful. For instance: on paper, according to the Indian rules, women employees can avail of maternity benefits, equal pay for comparable work, and protection against sexual harassment but how far is it truly executed in all workplaces is the bigger question? There are additional rules in place to protect workers from other forms of exploitation and discrimination at work. However, the track record for its execution has been highly criticised.

Towards Inclusion

A diverse workforce is increasingly understood to be essential to enhancing a company’s success and to be a necessity that businesses cannot ignore. Today, it is widely acknowledged that diversity provides both concrete and intangible value, even if doing so necessitates resolving the problems and expenses it can occasionally bring with it. We observe a gradual shift away from diversity and towards inclusion in the current rhetoric.

Empirical studies on organisational practices of inclusion are fairly scarce. This is understandable given that inclusion has only recently entered the mainstream lexicon. Recruitment and selection, training and development and socialisation events such as feasts and parties have all been identified as areas of organisational inclusion practice. A more comprehensive evaluation of long-term inclusive practices, methodologies and measures is still mostly lacking (Nair & Vohra, nd).

Inclusion not only makes one’s organisation’s employees feel safe and happy but it also has a plethora of other advantages. It will be a major factor in attracting top talent, it will undoubtedly improve the company’s reputation, it will aid in decision-making by including various perspectives from different people with different experiences, and it will also increase employee engagement and productivity.

Inclusion is a desirable, required and positive aspect that in this day and age every organisation must try and adapt to. Inclusion is not just hiring people because they look and sound different. It is genuinely being aware of and questioning one’s implicit bias and understanding the fact the ‘different’ is good and not subpar. If not, that organisation may experience some very serious adverse impacts, both internally and externally.

This article has been co-authored by Tarini Suri, Undergraduate Student, FLAME University, and Prof. Moitrayee Das, Faculty of Psychology, FLAME University.

(Source:- https://telanganatoday.com/opinion-making-workplaces-truly-welcoming )