What is inclusion and why does it matter?
The CGIAR definition of inclusion is “a dynamic state of operating in which diversity is leveraged to create a welcoming, fair, healthy, and high-performing organization or community.”
When we talk about creating an “inclusive environment” we mean one that ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities for all, and that enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued for who they are. It is an environment where people invite, encourage, and incorporate different perspectives, ideas and experiences.
A widely used analogy to explain the difference between diversity and inclusion, coined by Vernā Myers, is that diversity is being invited to the party, while inclusion is being asked to dance once you get there.
What are the benefits of inclusion?
In recent years many organisations have switched from focusing just on diversity to spending more time and effort on creating an inclusive workplace. This is because diversity without inclusion is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it. You can bring diverse people into an organisation, but if they don’t feel included, or that their contribution is valued, they are unlikely to stay.
Key enabler of diversity:
It is also clear that inclusion is an essential ingredient to reaping the benefits of diversity. In this Inclusive leadership study from Catalyst of over 1512 employees across six countries, teams were more likely to reap the benefits of diversity on team performance when inclusion was part of the organizational culture. In the BCG and Technical University of Munich study inclusion was cited as the most important enabler for diversity to impact improved innovation results.
So what does an inclusive organisation look like and how do we build one at CGIAR?
While leadership has a key role to play in defining the vison and aspiration for an inclusive workplace, it will take commitment and intentional action from all us to make this vision a reality.