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Business

15 Great Diversity and Inclusion Quotes for a Better Workplace

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This post is part of a series called How to Improve Diversity in Your Business (Essential Guide).
What Is Unconscious Bias? +Top Strategies to Help Avoid It
How to Add Diversity to Your PowerPoint Presentations

As we’ve seen in this diversity and inclusion series on Envato Tuts+, there are many powerful benefits of diversity in the workplace. But actually creating a diverse, inclusive business is easier said than done.

So if you need some inspiration and motivation, here are 15 great diversity and inclusion quotes. You’ll get some useful insights into spotting and promoting talent, fostering better decision-making, examining your own biases, and more.

1. Best Quotes on Inclusion and Dealing With Difference

Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg, Photo by World Economic Forum via Wikipedia CC BY-SA 2.0

Difference can be challenging. If you've got a homogenous group of people who all think alike, it’s easier to reach a comfortable consensus. Diversity means including people with different perspectives, different experiences, different opinions, and perhaps different working styles or expectations. 

The companies that succeed in their diversity initiatives do a good job of managing those differences and creating a harmonious whole. For more on building a diverse and inclusive work culture, see this tutorial:

And here are some quotes to inspire you:

“We need to resist the tyranny of low expectations. We need to open our eyes to the inequality that remains. We won’t unlock the full potential of the workplace until we see how far from equality we really are.” — Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook (Source: Thrive Global)
“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” — Jesse Jackson, Politician and Civil Rights Activist (Source: Crain’s)
“Diversity, or the state of being different, isn't the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations.” — Bill Crawford, Psychologist (Source: Leading Differently)
 “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become a wiser, more inclusive, and better organization.” — Pat Wadors, Head of HR at LinkedIn (Source: LinkedIn)
“When you're finally up on the moon, looking back at the earth, all these differences and nationalistic traits are pretty well going to blend and you're going to get a concept that maybe this is really one world and why the hell can't we learn to live together like decent people?” — Frank Borman, Retired NASA Astronaut (Source: Wikiquote)
“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.” — ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, Former Head of the Bahá'í Faith (Source: Bahá’í Reference Library)

2. Best Quotes on Spotting and Promoting Talent

Soichiro Honda
Soichiro Honda, Source: Wikipedia

As the old saying goes, a business is only as good as the people it hires. But there’s another side to that too—as well as hiring talented people, you've got to manage them well and give them opportunities, so that they stay with you.

One of the main benefits of hiring from a diverse talent pool is that it immediately expands the range of that pool and increases your chances of finding the best candidates. On top of that, you can also start to enjoy the many other business benefits of workplace diversity.

To find out more about diversity in hiring, see the following tutorial:

And here are a few quotes to inspire you:

“If you exclude 50% of the talent pool, it’s no wonder you find yourself in a war for talent.” — Theresa J. Whitmarsh, Executive Director of the Washington State Investment Board (Source: World Economic Forum)
"If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don't particularly like." — Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda (Source: Honda R&D Americas
“If you haven’t got the best talent you’re not going to be the best, if you’re not representing properly the available pool of talent then you’re missing an opportunity.” — Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, EMEA President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (Sources: Jazz HR Notes and Financial Times)

3. Best Quotes on Diversity and Decision-Making 

Sundar Pichai
Sundar Pichai, Photo by Maurizio Pesce via Wikipedia, CC BY 2.0

Academics have looked at the way we make decisions, and the results are in: the more diverse the group, the better the outcome. Outsiders bring fresh perspectives that lead to new insights.

That diversity can come in many different forms: in one piece of research at Northwestern University, it was people from different fraternities and sororities. The presence of someone from outside the group led to better decisions than in the groups where everyone knew each other.

For more on the different types of diversity and how they affect diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace, read on:

And here are some quotes on diversity and decision-making:

“We fundamentally believe that we will make better business decisions if we have diversity in thinking … and that requires equal gender participation.” — Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup (Source: World Economic Forum)
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.” — Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google (Source: Quartz at Work)
“Diversity strengthens our innovative capacity, unleashes the potential of Siemens’ employees and thereby directly contributes to our business success.” — Janina Kugel, Human Resources Board Member and Chief Diversity Officer at Siemens (Source: Siemens)

4. Best Quotes on Examining Your Own Biases

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou, Photo by Kyle Tsui via Wikipedia CC BY 2.0

How can you build a more diverse and inclusive workplace if you’re held back by your own biases?

There’s no need to be ashamed if you've got prejudices. We all grow up in a world that provides us with a huge set of ready-made prejudices about people of different ethnicities, gender identities, ages, and so on. They can run so deep that we may be unaware of them, but they inform our actions nonetheless.

That’s why a key part of any successful diversity and inclusion training program is to help employees identify and acknowledge their own biases. Only then can they start to make better, fairer decisions. Find out more here:

And here are some quotes on bias and prejudice:

“The point isn’t to get people to accept that they have biases, but to get them to see [for themselves] that those biases have negative consequences for others.” — Theresa McHenry, HR Director at Microsoft UK (Source: FT)
“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible.” — Maya Angelou, Poet (Source: Huffington Post)
“Unconscious perceptions govern many of the most important decisions we make and have a profound effect on the lives of many people in many ways.... Unconscious patterns can play out in ways that are so subtle they are hard to spot.” — Howard Ross, Founder of Cook Ross Inc. (Source: CDO Insights)

Conclusion

In today’s article, you’ve got some insights into diversity and inclusion from leaders in the worlds of business, religion, poetry, and more. We’ve also looked at some of the applications of those quotes and linked to other resources for more information.

If you’d like to take it a step further, dive into our full series on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And if you know any good diversity quotes that I’ve missed, please add your suggestions in the comments!

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