Diversity & Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion within the organization have gone beyond ethical considerations and are crucial for corporate success. The combination of efforts from personnel and cultural departments, HR professionals, and organizational leaders is pivotal in providing a workplace environment that reflects the diversity of its workforce, facilitating seamless integration.

While the conversation on diversity often addresses external factors such as gender, race, education, age, parental and social status, and health nuances, it is beneficial to focus on a more detailed understanding. The center of discusion should reside in the performance of both the teams and individuals within a challenging environment.

The importance of each factor varies depending on the international context and demographics of employees. To illustrate, we present a survey (Factor chart 1) for the perceived level of employee bias in different factors in an international company with ca. 500 employees, that are spread in 8 different European countries, n=48, scale 1-5.


Supporting evidence from an analysis conducted by Gomez & Bernet (2019), highlights the benefits derived from diverse teams. However, controversies were noticed with studies that emphasized the challenges in translating concepts into realistic outcomes.

The Aristotle project, conducted at Google in 2012, looked into individual skills, team norms and how they influence performance within a team. The findings, though illuminating, revealed the challenges of success, proving difficult to present dissimilar ideas into team dynamics. Some teams were successful because of frequent communication, others because of differences of opinion, others because of their highly functional processes.

Refocusing external characteristics to psychological attributes, the discussion of impactful diversity lies in embracing psychological diversity. Inclusion creates innovation, psychological safety, and a positive culture that is not afraid to learn from mistakes. Unlike the conventional understanding of diversity, inclusion centers around collective engagement with those differences without negatively impacting the cultural welfare.

A scenario that highlights the delicate nature of inclusion is as follows: If a predominantly male corporate board appoints a woman, the resulting internal diversity may not translate into true inclusiveness if her psychological characteristics align more closely with predominant male patterns.

Initiatives aimed at promoting inclusivity require a dual approach, combining management directives from organizational leadership with employee level cooperation, inspiring the engagement of employees to realize the benefits from the envisioned change. This ensures a comprehensive and sustainable approach to creating an inclusive workplace environment. For the design and solution of the project, we recommend approaching an external partner who has extensive experience in the implementation of similar assignments.

Gomez, L. E., & Bernet, P. (2019). Diversity improves performance and outcomes. Journal of the National Medical Association, 111(4), 383-392. 

Jakub Šmakal
Selfish Kiwi Consultant and Partner
Selfish Kiwi

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