August 7, 2020
Diversity and inclusion are terms you’re probably already familiar with. As discussions around systemic racism and the benefits of diversity in the workplace have increased, many business owners and entrepreneurs have asked how they can build a truly diverse organization.
As a startup owner, you’re in an excellent position of being able to build a diverse and inclusive workplace from the ground up, without having to fix problematic or subpar past policies.
What is workplace diversity and inclusion?
In the workplace, diversity is when the employees of a business are reflective of society – i.e., there are people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ability, or sexual orientation, just as there are in the world outside of the business.
Diversity is not always something you can see or check a box for. Because humans are so complex and unique from each other, there are millions of ways to create a diverse workforce when you take into account things like cognitive abilities, personality traits, communication styles and experience.
The four types of diversity
In a business context, there are four main “dimensions” of diversity types: internal, external, organizational and world view.
- Internal: Internal diversity types are things that a person is born as or cannot change, such as skin color, ethnicity, age and physical or mental ability.
- External: External diversity is anything related to a person that they are not born with but can be heavily controlled or influenced by that person. Examples of external diversity include interests, education, appearance, citizenship, family status, religion and geographic location.
- Organizational: Organizational diversity is related to the business or organization that you are part of, whether you work in a private, nonprofit or public sector. Organizational diversity includes things like job function, management status, work location, seniority or union affiliation.
- World view: World view pertains to anything that a person observes, feels or experiences that changes how they think and view the world around them. Examples include cultural events, politics, pop culture and history knowledge.