Organization development is focused on the ability of an organization to meets its business goals by effectively optimizing and engaging the talents of its employees, its technology and its processes. To that end, organization development encompasses diversity as one of its key success factors.
Diversity encompasses ethnicity as well as gender, religion, work styles, age, race, creed, capabilities and lifestyles. Some even include body size as a factor or diversity.
The workforce has become increasingly multicultural in nature over the last 10 -15 years with the increase in outsourcing and immigration. This increase means we will hear many languages spoken by our customers and our employees; it means there is the opportunity to share and learn about many clutures and languages. The increase in multi-cultures also means that we will see different races, religions and work ethics in an organization.
Diversity is a word that connotes differences that are to be respected and understood. The word inclusion , however, is a word that implies the integration of these differences effectively to achieve common results.
Inclusion is important for an organization's leadership to fully embrace as part of its core values and business practices. It is only through creating an enviornment of inclusion that all employees will feel valued and engaged to bring their best forward. For example, if an employee is asked not to eat the ethnic diet at work due to the odor, then that person will feel they are not respected as a person and therefore, may not bring their best to their work.
I am currently working on diversity training for my company. We are shifting the focus from diversity awareness to fostering inclusion. The tone of the training is that each of us are diverse. As a leader in the organization, we each are responsible to foster inclusion. To achieve this point, our role plays are real examples where misunderstandings and assumptions have negatively impacted morale and therefore impeded getting results. We are moving away from the unintentional tone of tolerance to an intentional focus on inclusion.Catherine Mason
[Catherine was the winner of our April 2007 program giveaway, a webinar on "OD Is Diversity" in the OD Network "Theory and Practice