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What is Artificial Inclusion?

While many organisations are working to build diverse workplaces, the presence of artificial inclusion raises critical questions about the authenticity and sustainability of these efforts.

Artificial Inclusion occurs when organisations prioritise superficial diversity metrics, such as gender or ethnicity, without addressing the deeper issues of systemic bias and equity. It is the illusion of inclusivity, where underrepresented individuals may find themselves in spaces that lack genuine acceptance, understanding, and equal opportunities.

Studies show that merely increasing demographic diversity does not automatically translate into an inclusive culture. A McKinsey report found that organizations in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to outperform their counterparts, but real success comes from inclusive practices that empower individuals at all levels.[1]

Examples of Artificial Inclusion:

Tokenism: Placing one or a few individuals from underrepresented groups in visible positions without providing equal opportunities for meaningful contributions.

Diversity as a Marketing Tool: Organisations that prioritise diversity for public relations without making substantial changes in their internal culture and policies.

Here are some practical interventions to overcome Artificial inclusion:

Open Communication Channels 

Create open channels for employees to express concerns, share experiences, and suggest improvements. A transparent dialogue is essential for fostering a truly inclusive environment.

Address Systemic Bias

Go beyond surface-level diversity initiatives. Examine and address systemic biases in policies, procedures, and decision-making processes.

Cultural Competency Training

Invest in ongoing training to enhance cultural competence among employees. This includes understanding and respecting diverse perspectives and experiences.

Measure Inclusivity 

Develop metrics that measure not only diversity but also the inclusivity of your workplace.

Inclusive Leadership

Research shows that without Inclusive Leaders diversity and inclusion initiatives often result in failure.[2] Foster a culture of genuine inclusion by promoting inclusive leadership at all levels. Leaders should actively listen, champion diverse voices, and model inclusive behaviour.

Inclusive Intelligence 360° Analysis for Leaders

Diversein's Inclusive Intelligence 360° tool aims to find the largest gap in inclusive leadership skills and help organisations to prioritise their inclusion focus as required. Inclusive Intelligence 360° compares how the leaders inclusivity perceived by their teams and gives an overview of where their leaders are on their inclusion journey.

A sample of Inclusion Intelligence 360° Skill Gap Analysis Results

Furkan Karayel is multi award winning diversity and inclusion speaker and author of the best selling book: Inclusive Intelligence, How to be a Role Model for Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace. Founder of, board member of Women for Election. Furkan lectures at Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.


[1]Vivian Hunt, DBE, Sara Prince, Sundiatu Dixon-Fyle, Kevin Dolan, McKinsey & Company, Diversity Wins, How Inclusion Matters, May 2020

[2]Jonsen, Karsten, Martha Maznevski, Günter K. Stahl, and Andreas Voigt. 2007. Unravelling the Diversity-Performance Link in Multicultural Teams: Meta-Analysis of Studies on the Impact of Cultural Diversity in Teams. Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD.


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