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The Best Diversity and Inclusion Quotes for the Workplace

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace isn't just cosmetic, it is the long haul. Here are diversity and inclusion quotes for the workplace to get started.

Employee Engagement
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10 Min read
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Last Updated on
May 28, 2021

Diversity in the workplace is no longer optional - it’s not just a nice-to-have for only the most progressive organizations. Establishing real equality for everyone in your company and ensuring people from every background feel included is vital these days. And real diversity isn’t only about making your company look good on paper (or in the papers). Increasing the diversity in your workplace and working hard to be truly inclusive has benefits for your business as well.

But getting to a place where diversity and inclusion are achieved and remain a constant in your organization takes time - and a little bit of inspiration and motivation as well. That’s why we’ve created this list of the best diversity in the workplace quotes to help you on the path to a stronger, healthier organization where everyone is welcomed and valued.

Why Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Matters?

Building a diverse and inclusive workplace does more than just help your leadership team feel good or look good in your latest annual report. There are also significant benefits of diversity and inclusion to your business to consider. You will see better financial results, stronger teams, and other results that help you build a stronger business.

Equality in the workplace is about more than just saying the right words. It means everyone is paid fairly, given equal opportunities for advancement and new roles, and feel safe and secure being their true selves every day at work. When people with all kinds of backgrounds can thrive at your company, you’ll know you’ve done a great job.

But getting to that space takes time and plenty of thoughtful effort. As you embark on the journey towards a more equal and welcoming workplace, here are the best diversity and inclusion quotes to get you inspired and thinking about what you can do to build a more equal world, starting with your company.

Inspirational Quotes About Diversity and Inclusion

1. “D&I needs to be something that every single employee at the company has a stake in.” — Bo Young Lee

Uber’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Bo Young Lee understand the importance of a universal commitment to diversity and inclusion at every company. D&I isn’t just the province of a few committed advocates or something you can leave to employees you consider “diverse.”

It’s something that everyone in the organization, from the CEO down to front-line employees, understands and takes action on. Otherwise, your D&I efforts will be mostly lip service and they won’t produce meaningful, lasting change.

2. “Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.” — Jesse Jackson

Creating a workplace that includes everyone’s views and backgrounds isn’t just about looking good in diversity reports. It’s actually a powerful driver of business results as well. In fact, research by McKinsey has shown that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. Those numbers are too impressive to ignore.

3. “We are building products that people with very diverse backgrounds use, and I think we all want our company makeup to reflect the makeup of the people who use our products.” — Sheryl Sandberg

We can probably all call to mind an embarrassing snafu from a brand where it’s clear that a team or teams did not understand the perspective of the people they’re trying to reach. Anyone else recall that Kendall Jenner ad for Pepsi about police violence that really missed the mark?

What helps companies avoid embarrassments like these is having a diverse team filled with many different perspectives and voices. That way, there’s always someone in the room who can point out something that everyone else might have missed, or introduce a new way of thinking about an issue or project that leads to innovation.

4. “It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” — Audre Lorde

Being different from each other is a strength, not a weakness - it gives us a chance to see things another way and to think differently. The divisions come in when differences are not respected and celebrated. Diversity means more than just getting different people in a room - it also means celebrating and accepting their different perspectives.

5. “Good leadership requires you to surround yourself with people of diverse perspectives who can disagree with you without fear of retaliation.” — Doris Kearns Goodwin

As a leader, surrounding yourself only with people who will tell you yes and who think the same way as you will not lead to good business decisions. Having a team around you who can urge you to think in a different way and consider other perspectives will make your decisions stronger and more thoughtful - just one of the many benefits of diversity.

Best Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Quotes

6. “We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” — Jimmy Carter

Diversity and inclusion doesn’t mean ignoring differences and combining everyone into a single way of thinking. It means combining perspectives and maintaining individuality while celebrating and accepting differences until you create a mosaic of experiences and innovation.

7. “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

It’s not enough to just hire people of different genders, races, backgrounds, and more to work at your company - that’s diversity. You also need to make people from different backgrounds feel included and welcomed and able to be their whole selves at work - that’s inclusion. If you hire for diversity but your hires don’t feel comfortable speaking up or being themselves, you won’t reap the real rewards of D&I.

8. “We all have the ability to promote a culture of acceptance and inclusion — and that is something I believe every leader has a responsibility to do. It starts with having a dialogue until we are all comfortable and no longer have the fear of saying the wrong thing.” — Inga Beale

The commitment to diversity and inclusion needs to start from the very top of your organization if you want it to be effective. Leaders must promote D&I not only with their words, but their actions as well. That sets a powerful example for everyone in the organization - they will know their leaders believe D&I is important, and will act accordingly.

9. “I do think that treating everyone equally no matter where they come from, no matter who they are and what role they have, is a big key, because you never know who you’re talking to, really. You never know where they’ve been. You never know where they’re going. So, it just makes a lot of good sense to treat everyone the same and treat them well.” — Arlan Hamilton

Arlan Hamilton went from being homeless to being the founder and managing partner of Backstage Capital. She knows how vital it is to treat everyone well - from the executives at your company to the janitors. You don’t know where the person you’re talking to will end up in a decade, and beginning with kindness is key. Diversity means accepting that everyone might have different journeys to get where they’re going, and treating everyone with respect along the way.

10. “What’s often ignored is that diversity is not only a pipeline or recruiting issue. It’s an issue of making the people who do make it through the pipeline want to stay at your company.” — Andrea Barrica

Hiring people from different backgrounds is a good start to building a more diverse workplace, for sure. But how welcomed do your hires feel once they begin working at your company every day?

If your hires, who don’t fit the traditional mold, are leaving your company quickly and in droves, then you have more work to do in building an inclusive workplace culture. You’ll only succeed once everyone wants to stick around and do their best work every day, without fear or constraint. And that also means providing plenty of equal opportunities for advancement and leadership roles as well.

Key Takeaways

Diversity and inclusion don’t simply happen to your organization on their own - and the journey towards an equal workplace doesn’t happen overnight. But we hope these diversity and inclusion quotes have inspired you to think about how you can work to build a welcoming and equal workplace culture.

Diverse workplaces have better business results, as well as better employee retention and engagement rates. That’s why more and more companies are investing so heavily in D&I efforts - they know how critical it is to every measure of success.

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