What is diversity?
Diversity is variety. It includes all the characteristics, experiences, and
differences of each individual. Diversity can be identified as physical
characteristics such as skin color and gender, or it may be differences in
culture, skills, education, personality type, or upbringing. Each of these
traits brings their own perspective and skills to the workplace.
(Image credited to: Health Resources and Services Administration)
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is a culture that recognizes, values, and respects each individual
and promotes collaboration and fairness to enable all members of the
workforce to reach their full potential.
What's the difference between diversity and EEO?
Diversity management is a process concerned with equity or fairness. Unlike EEO, it's
not legally required, is based on choice, and includes everyone. A good
diversity management program aims to improve awareness of others that will lead to
positive behavioral changes. Human Resources champions diversity.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is distinct from diversity and focuses on
equality and equal access. It's legally-based and primarily concerned with
protected classes. Compliance with EEO policy is mandated by law. EEO
employs corrective and preventative measures for discrimination, sexual
harassment, sexual discrimination, and equal opportunity. The Office of
Civil Rights handles EEO, and they manage the complaint process.
Why does the Coast Guard care about diversity and
A diverse workforce provides a variety of perspectives and talents that will
enhance the workplace. An inclusive work environment creates a workforce
that values the individual contributions of its personnel and allows members
to feel empowered. Inclusion increases innovation and strengthens teams.
In order to maximize its effectiveness and efficiency, the Coast Guard needs
the best possible people to work as a team. If individuals feel excluded, the
Coast Guard loses the skills and talents of that member, which
reduces the potential quality of the organization.
needs to trust and respect each other. If a member feels excluded or
marginalized, he/she is less inclined to work with the team, trust the other
members, or add input. This becomes especially dangerous when people notice
a safety concern, but the don't feel like they can speak up. Additionally,
targeted individuals are more likely to leave the Coast Guard, which results
in a loss of training, talent, and experience.
Diversity is NOT only about women and minorities!
While race, gender, and physical characteristics are easily identifiable
differences, and therefore, the most apparent aspects of diversity, there
are many other dimensions of diversity. Diversity dimensions can be
internal, external, and organizational. (see chart above)
Here are some examples:
- Regional origin (Southern U.S. v. Midwest)
- Political party affiliation (Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.)
- Personality type (introvert vs. extrovert)
- Rate (MK, YN)
- Education level
As Coast Guardsmen, Coast Guard members are expected to treat each other
professionally and respectfully regardless of individual differences.
Why should I care about diversity?
Work environment directly affects unit performance. We all want to
contribute to a productive and positive work environment. Such an
environment enhances effectiveness, increases job satisfaction, and retains
valuable employees. Whether it's a boarding team, an AVDET, or a staff unit,
the mission suffers when members can't work as a team.