What are the two types of diversity?

Are you meeting your obligations to promote diversity in the workplace? It can be difficult to know if you do not have a clear idea of what workplace diversity looks like. Essentially, your workplace should reflect the larger world in which your company exists, with all different genders, races, nationalities and ethnicities represented at all levels. 

While defining diversity can be difficult, it may be helpful to understand two different types of diversity: Acquired and inherent. 

Acquired diversity

According to the HR Exchange Network, acquired diversity refers to traits that your current and prospective employees gain through life experience. Examples of acquired diversity include language skills obtained from traveling abroad, communicating with a relative who came to the United States from a foreign country, etc. Acquired diversity also refers to a broader mindset when it comes to approaching cultural differences. 

Inherent diversity

Inherent diversity refers to traits that are present from birth, such as race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Underrepresentation affects many members of groups such as these. You have a legal and ethical responsibility to make an effort toward greater inclusion. 

Note that “gender” in this context does not refer to the sex assigned to an individual at birth. Rather, it refers to one’s gender identity, which may or may not align with assigned sex but is nevertheless an inherent trait. 

Both inherent diversity and acquired diversity are important to make your workplace truly inclusive. There are not only legal and ethical reasons to include more diversity but business reasons as well. Research shows that if you hire employees with at least three acquired and inherent diversity traits apiece, you are more likely to see company growth and increased performance. 

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