Cultural diversity has been a ‘hot button’ issue in the workplace for quite some time…
… and diversity is not limited to cultural diversity or demographics (ethnic background, gender, age, education, background, sexual preference, religious inclination, socio-economic status, physical abilities, political beliefs and other ideologies), though they would obviously influence your outlook, beliefs and world-view.
Diversity includes different styles of interaction, thinking, communicating and relating.
We all know that the strongest teams are made up of individuals with a range of skills, experiences, and perspectives to draw from. With so many businesses operating globally, finding and developing a culturally diverse workforce gives an important competitive edge.
Diversity in Nature
We also know that the more diversity and variety we have in our natural environment, the more symbiotic relationships there are, the better all players in the environment thrive, even in the most difficult circumstances.
Diversity in Business
Compliance: The way HR views diversity (in many, if not most, cases) is driven by compliance and largely centered around hiring with regard to demographic quotas that need to be filled. This approach misses the mark, undermines progress and causes much unhappiness.
Diversity Programs: Diversity programs and initiatives are regrettably superficial at best and rarely, if ever, bring long-lasting change, unless there is consistent effort to implement, support and facilitate organizational change.
Stereotyping closes interaction because it encourages us to make assumptions about others, which can be incorrect and hurtful. These pre-conceived ideas can lead to discrimination or racism and end up as Xenophobia at the worst end of the spectrum.
- Open-mindedness opens the conversation and communication.
- Increased awareness, inclusion and integration leads to greater acceptance and understanding.
Inclusion as Solution: The answer is greater ‘real’ inclusion; e.g. one way to do this is to change the way we use language – changing “them” and “they” (separating and excluding) to “us” and “we” (inclusive).
The more diverse your staff, the more they are able to understand the variety and differences of your prospects, clients, customers and create appropriate products, services, offers and marketing campaigns, especially when you start branching out nationally or internationally.
Celebrating our differences, as well as our common interests, helps unite and educate us. When we learn to understand other’s perspectives, we broaden our own.
It is not enough to merely accept or tolerate people different to us, we must open our minds and hearts to find joy in our uniqueness and celebrate what makes us different.
Workers must be willing to be open-minded and non-judgmental about the value of differences because differences in interpretation of events can lead to miscommunication. If not addressed, awkwardness and hostilities arise. Prejudices can worsen that effect. People jump to conclusions and misinterpret behaviors.
Without the commitment to inclusion, cultural diversity can weaken a group.
Benefits of diversity in HR
People with different world views come with different perspectives that can stimulate imagination, original thought, ‘unconventional’ ideas or new angles that leads teams to greater creativity and innovation.
Valuing diversity gives the company the freedom to go after the most talented people, regardless of differences.
After all: “Variety is the spice of life”
Valuing diversity cuts costs by reducing turnover and absenteeism. With inclusion, employees do not feel ostracized, marginalized, discriminated against because they are different, they feel part of teams and accepted by others in the organization.
Avoid legal expenses
Enhance employee engagement by showing the company understands, values and respects different cultures.
Diversity in Operations
- Cut costs by reducing turnover and absenteeism because people feel valued, accepted, appreciated and even though they are different they feel they ‘belong’.
- Avoid legal expenses with regard to discrimination, stereotyping, biases and prejudices.
- Enhance employee engagement by showing the company understands, values and respects different cultures.
- Free to go after the most talented people, regardless of different socio-economic background, ethnicity, religion or any of the other demographics that caused division in the past.
Diversity in Marketing and Sales
- Build trust in your brand with a diverse target market.
- Teams that embrace diversity create compelling marketing campaigns because they understand the target market or niche better.
- Salespeople have an intimate understanding of prospects and invite/ inspire them appropriately.
Diversity Stimulates Innovation
- Diversity within a product development team is very powerful; it helps them come up with innovative new ideas, products, services, smart solutions and ingenious new ways of doing things more efficiently and effectively.
- Get in sync with diverse target markets – create new products that satisfy the myriad markets’ needs, because a diverse workforce better understands these diverse markets, especially if you have a broad spectrum of ‘ideal customers’.
Most global companies started the drive to implement inclusion policies in the 1980s, yet it has not trickled through to everyone yet, and some have found it trickier than others.
- Organize fun activities, Christmas parties, weekends away to help create bonds between workers on an emotional and friendship level. However, as we all know these could just as well have the opposite effect if people feel there is preferential treatment, unjust or unfair practices, a particular boss that people dislike, etc. so it can be difficult to manage diversity and inclusion and even more difficult to predict the outcome.
- Use assessment tools to survey, monitor, measure and report on progress with regard to employee disposition or corporate climate. Statistics give feedback on efficacy of HR programs and initiatives e.g. inclusion of minorities or previously targeted groups, flexible policies, mentoring, coaching, communication, diversity programs, training courses, EAP and staff wellness programs, interventions, training.
- Use value-based incentives and drives – this might make all the difference.
We live in complex times that require complex solutions and there is no one size fits all, what works in one company does not mean it will work everywhere else. We require agile diversity strategies to accommodate our differences, effectively integrate people and change with the times. Like most journeys, it requires careful navigation.
However, when there is a value-based incentive and drive – this might make all the difference.
Top 20 ways to celebrate diversity
Get your 20 top ways to stimulate / integrate/ celebrate cultural diversity (FREE pdf).
Click on the link here ⇒ Celebrate Cultural Diversity
Types of Diversity
Some of the many types of diversity that shape our identities and personalities with arbitrary classifications:
- Demographic diversity – identities of origin? (gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, temperament, disposition)
- Experiential diversity – life experiences [growth] that shape our emotional life that includes – likes dislikes, affinities, hobbies, abilities, people we are attracted to and like spending time with… this could also include religion, culture, upbringing, schooling, environmental factors.
- Cognitive diversity – how we approach problems and think about things, mental capacity, intellect, what we remember and how well we remember things, what attracts our attention, what we focus on (e.g. HBDI = Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument for classification).
- Psychometric or personality types of which there are many classifications (e.g. Myers-Briggs, Enneagram)
- Personality Traits: Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism.
- Psychosocial diversity: the way we handle stress or perceived threats and challenges (whether real or not), Management Styles, Leadership Styles, how we interact and communicate, etc.
Change Company Culture
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For an easy, interactive and fun way to get people to accept changes you want to incorporate into the Organizational Culture try the Kudos System for massive change…
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In the next few weeks these top 2020 HR trends will be fleshed out.
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Books on Diversity and Inclusion
Add some great Business Books on Diversity and Inclusion to your Library: –
- Books on Amazon ( International) about Diversity and Inclusion
- Books on Loot ( South African) about Diversity, Inclusion & Integration
Genius Within – Links to Other Pages
Unlock the genius within individuals as well as the collective genius within your organization – expand minds and enrich lives
- HR Trends 2020: Major Shifts in HR – Comparison Legacy vs New HR
- HR Trend 2020: Diversity & Inclusion – All untapped potential is going to waste [top of this page]
- Celebrate Diversity – 20 Ways to create a more inclusive company culture
- Discrimination – Root out misconduct
- Staff Surveys, Assessments, Audits, Questionnaires, Polls – Uncover the real truth.
- Company Culture – Is it sinking your ship?
- Grievances, Gripes, Complaints – Give staff a voice, where they have none or feel inhibited
- Genius Within [Home Page]
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