It should be no surprise to anyone that the day of the all-any-single-culture workplace is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Yes, there are pockets of resistance to the idea of inclusion, but the path to hiring based on race/ethnicity has begun to take a detour toward a more diverse workplace. And, there are perfectly good reasons why this is the case AND why companies and other organizations should consider making a more diverse workplace their resolution for the new year.
With regard to education, North Carolina State University’s Office for Institutional Equity & Diversity notes:
“Diversity is an inclusive community of people with varied human characteristics, ideas, and world-views and whose interactions both benefit and challenge each other to grow while making the community better.
Such a community will:
- enhance access, attract and retain a diverse population and promote equity and equal opportunity.
- encourage interaction among diverse people to enrich the educational experience, promote personal growth and enhance the community.
- foster mutual respect, value differences and promote cross cultural understanding.
- prepare leaders to live and work in a competitive global community.”
In the workplace, there are equally important benefits to employing a diverse group. According to Bright Hub, among the numerous benefits to diversity in the workplace are these six most important include:
1. More ideas.The more different people are in a team or company, the more ideas are generated. Quantity of ideas is of course, not the same as quality of ideas, but the more ideas there are the better the chances of extracting good ideas from them. Diversity in the workplace creates a large knowledge pool to extract information from.
2. More innovation. Diversity in the workplace means people who think in different ways. This variety in thinking is a great source for creativity and innovation. One person can latch on the idea of another and give it a new twist, thus creating something innovative. There is often a strong correlation between diversity and creativity.
3. Improvement of communication skills. People who are different may tend initially to not get along very well. However, if they are required to work well together, this tends to help them improve their communication and people skills. Thus, they learn to adapt better to other people in the workplace and achieve their targets.
4. More tolerance. The more different people interact with each other, the more they get used with each other. They learn to accept differences and to stop judging other people just because they are different. In other ways, they become more tolerant of people who do not think and act the same way they do.
5. Variety of strengths.It is a real challenge to find all the kinds of strengths required in a company when the employees are very similar. On the other hand, diversity in the workplace also means a wider range of available strengths. Instead of people fighting over the same responsibilities, they specialize easier and all responsibilities are covered.
6. A better brand. Organizations that have a diversity of cultures and people coexisting as employees are seen much better than other organizations. They are perceived as more open and more tolerant. This positive image makes a wide range of potential clients, form various cultures, more willing to use its products or services.
Employing a diverse workforce isn’t a new idea, but it is an idea that can boost the overall strength of the organization. Learning what people from other co-cultures want in terms of products and service, what employees know about how others in their co-cultures shop and buy, and bringing ideas that my not emerge from other sources can often spell the difference between added successes and maintaining the status quo.
With all the benefits to diversity in the workplace, what is YOUR organization’s resolution for the new year or DURING the year?
On-site Diversity/Inclusion Training