Creating a diverse workforce should be one of your biggest priorities. People often misunderstand, or underestimate, the power it can bring, both internally and externally, to your business.
What is diversity?
Is it about race, age, or colour? Or is it just about differences of opinions, thoughts, skills, knowledge, geography, background and culture? Diversity is anything that sets one individual apart from another. Diversity is about including disparate ideas, backgrounds and opinions in the mix when making key decisions, as well as generating and developing new ideas and solutions to challenges, both internal and those of our clients. It is about encouraging variety of thought, embracing new ideas and creating a culture that fosters innovation by valuing these differences.
What isn’t diversity?
Diversity is not about compliance. This suggests it is a burden, or a source of challenge or trouble. Compliance is reactive and transactional: diversity is proactive and transformational. Diversity is also not about tolerance or sensitivity which comes from a lack of leadership or dysfunctional culture. And it’s not about special treatment for certain groups of people. Diversity is about the full deployment of a variety of resources, for better outcomes that benefit everyone. It’s not about making things better only for specific groups of people. And diversity is not about charity, or helping people less fortunate.
So why should we care?
Creating a diverse workforce can contribute to increased retention and productivity, enhance an organisation’s responsiveness to an increasingly diverse world of customers, improve relations with the surrounding community, increase the organisation’s ability to cope with change, and expand the creativity of the organisation overall.
Where do we start?
If we agree that this is important, where can and should we start?
- By understanding what diversity is and by becoming more aware of it as an area of opportunity.
- By thinking about diversity in our recruitment, in our development of our talent, in our mentorship, in our communications, in our partnerships … everywhere.
Success at achieving diversity will be when we no longer ask if we are diverse enough, because it has become the norm, not something remarkable. In the context of the workplace, valuing diversity means creating a work environment that respects and includes difference, recognises the unique contributions that individuals with many types of differences can make, and maximises the potential of all employees.
But success starts with a single step…so take it now.
Visit Blue Turtle Coaching and Mentoring Services or email Steve at BlueturtleBS@yahoo.com for business mentoring and career coaching.