In the modern working world, we define diversity as a concerted effort to accommodate the full spectrum of human experience. That broad definition can make it easy to lump all types of diversity in the workplace under one umbrella—but that’s something we should try to avoid.
While diversity has commonly been depicted as relating largely to race, culture, gender, and sexuality, there are many other factors to be considered when promoting a diverse workforce. If we limit what our conception of diversity entails, we limit the scope of growth for our staff. That’s why an intersectional approach is important for an inclusive employee experience.
True diversity requires a diverse approach. And while a comprehensive list of every aspect worthy of consideration within your belonging and diversity strategy would span many pages, we’ve found that understanding some of the most significant types of diversity is a good start.
Understanding the Types of Diversity
Knowing that diversity extends beyond any one categorization is a good foundation for your belonging and diversity strategy. But truly embracing diversity requires considering the different factors at play, and building policy that reflects that potential scope.
A good starting point is considering the multiple factors that shape your own identity; after all, the person who knows you best is you. Think about your cultural background. Your religious beliefs. How your age affects your approach to work. What education you’ve received. Where you received it. Then consider how the same depth and diversity lies behind every person within your company.
Knowing your own depth of character is important, because it gives you a personal lens with which to view other employees at your organization. By giving every employee that same consideration, you prevent them from becoming siloed in one category, and help encourage an intersectional approach to workplace diversity.
Defining an Intersectional Approach to Diversity
Before we dive into five potential areas of focus when considering workplace diversity, let’s first define what we mean by an intersectional approach. Intersectionality should be the foundation for any inquiry into the types of diversity in your workplace.
Intersectionality: The acknowledgement that aspects of an individual’s identity (such as gender, race, and culture) are interconnected, and that each individual is more than a singular category.
While that multiplicity is something to be celebrated, it also impacts structural privilege. For example, the discrimination a Black woman faces is different to a white woman. That’s the basis of intersectionality, and why considering different types of workplace diversity is key.