A “melting pot” is used to describe a heterogeneous society that is converging to become homogeneous. The metaphor is used because in a melting pot, all ingredients cook for so long to form a delicious meal. However, ingredients are fused and cannot be distinguished. In other words, the mixing tends to erase the individuality of each component. This was how societal diversity was perceived post-colonialism.
We have seen a lot of companies stepping up their game in making sure that their teams were diverse by hiring employees from different gender, social and cultural background or with disabilities. The companies want to make sure that their work reflects the real world they are providing service to.
Unfortunately, some organizations limit their diversity strategy to the hiring phase. Once the employees enters the team, they are assimilated to the company’s behavior and values becoming like everyone else around and denying their differences and uniqueness. That is not the best way for a company to “think out of the box” and come up with the best creative and innovative products on the market when its employees want to downplay their uniqueness or difference.
“My claim as a woman is that my difference would be taken into account and to not be constrained to adapt to the male model”Simone Weil
That’s where inclusion steps in!
Inclusion is the way diversity is taken into account in the day to day activities of the company. It materializes the opportunities a team of diverse backgrounds can offer such as creativity and innovation. By encouraging inclusion, the employees make sure to flaunt their differences rather than making them less visible to “blend in”.
Once a large corporate or a small company embraces diversity and inclusion as part of their strategy and policy, it will lead to a positive development of the business. This means that it isn’t only about hiring diverse employees, but rather adapting the company’s goals and objectives in a way that matches with the HR strategy such as wanting to innovate products and attract new customers etc. Otherwise, the implementation of a theoretical strategy will fail because the “why” behind it is not matching the “how”.
In the work force, it is very important for people to have role models and mentors to look up to. Imagine if more and more people chose to celebrate their differences as a main part of their success. As a consequence, those who have similar attributes will be encouraged to be fully themselves and hence thrive in the workplace.
This certainly comes with challenges such as leading a diverse team and making sure that colleagues are respected and their contributions valued amongst the teams at the same time as keeping focus on the main goal and objectives of the work.