Celebrating National Inclusivity Week last week

An article from Inclusive Employers website, August 2023 was shared with RNN Group staff last week on their internal portal. We wanted to share this externally – as it is such a great article – and also make it relevant to the college environment.

What is inclusion?

Many of us have thought, what is inclusivity? And what does it mean to be truly inclusive?

Inclusion is a broad subject and is a term that trips off the tongue of many. However, people have different understandings of what the word means.

Cambridge Dictionary’s official definition for inclusion is:

“The act of including someone or something as part of a group, list, etc., or a person or thing that is included.”

Simply put, inclusion in the workplace or community spaces including colleges is about ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected as an individual.

Inclusion is critical to society and we must all work together to make equal and diverse spaces everywhere we go. This does not mean you have to know everything, but understanding what inclusivity means is a good place to start.

Is there a difference between diversity and inclusion?

Many people use the words inclusion, diversity, equality and even equity interchangeably.

However, focusing on inclusion does not prevent us from thinking about, discussing, or acting on diversity and equality.

Equality is about the fair treatment of everyone and is often linked to the legislative framework in the UK, The Equality Act 2010.

Equity is about creating equal possible outcomes for everyone because, despite effort and merit, people can experience substantial barriers in the workplace or community spaces including colleges.

Diversity is the mix of people.

Inclusion is the culture in which the mix of people can come to work or college, feel comfortable and confident to be themselves. Inclusion will ensure that everyone feels valued and importantly, adds value.

Why is Inclusion important in the workplace or college environments?

Evidence proves that organisations focused on building a more inclusive culture attract and retain a wider diversity of talent.

The inclusive culture then empowers diverse talent to think differently and share their experiences and perspectives, which in turn is a key driver for innovation, development and engagement.

The world is changing and inclusion is imperative to future-proof our workplaces and college environments, with many organisations priding themselves on an inclusive work and college space model. However, true inclusion is always ongoing and about consistent learning.

The benefits of inclusion and diversity in the workplace and college environments

Feeling included is a key aspect of human life. Many of us can recall a sense of exclusion: moments when we felt left out; other; different; that we weren’t welcome or weren’t appreciated.

Inclusion is the reverse: making people feel welcome; ensuring that it is safe for them to express who they choose to be; demonstrating our appreciation for their input; working collaboratively and showing we care.

People spend the majority of their time at work or at school / in a learning environment, so it’s critical that they feel safe and respected.

It would be naïve to think that by focusing on inclusion we automatically mitigate the inequalities that exist in the workplace and college.  However, with inclusion as our objective, it means that we are much more likely to see greater diversity, fair treatment of everyone and greater equality of opportunities as outcomes.

The challenges of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and college environments

Inclusivity in the workplace and college can be challenging. People have different requirements and different things that are important to them.

The most important thing is to actively take action to be an inclusive organisation and college and create a safe space for people to be their most authentic selves.

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