Why Diversity is Necessary in the Workplace & How to manage it?
You have definitely heard the terms “Diversity” and “Inclusion” several times by now. The concept of diversity and inclusion means acceptance and appreciation of people from varied backgrounds. It means that every individual from any race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies holds value and brings new ideas to an organization. In a workplace setting, inclusion means a collaborative effort of different people from diverse backgrounds in a respectful environment when different employees work towards one single goal and use their diversified backgrounds as leverage to take their organization to new heights.
According to a survey, 57 percent of employees think that their company should have more diversity. These figures are no joke. Organizations who aim for diversity in their work population have a bigger pool of applicants and a wider range of skills and talent to fill out the positions in any company. Companies that have diverse employees are more creative and magnets for talent and skills as the employees from different backgrounds can bring in their perspectives and ideas from their respective cultural experience. When an organisation has a team of people with different skills and life experiences, there will be plenty of fresh and innovative ideas, and the manager can use those diversified ideas and compile them to get closer to their target. Also, when a problem arises, many solutions will be put forward by the employees. Having a diverse workforce with multi-lingual employees and employees from varying ethnic backgrounds can also be helpful for organizations who want to expand or improve operations in international, national, regional and local markets. Customer satisfaction will also increase as the organisation will know how to market a product or idea to a certain audience.
However, things might not go as smooth as it seems looking at the benefits of diversity and inclusion. When there are multiple people from different backgrounds, there can be instances of discrimination which can create a hostile environment which can lead to discomfort among employees, hence the productivity of the company will decrease. Other than this, the people in lead positions need to understand the differences that arise among people due to their diverse backgrounds and how their behavior and beliefs can affect their work ethic. Managing diversity can be quite a handful, but the end product when the company has a lot of profits, all the hard work becomes worth it.
How to manage diversity in workplace?
1. The first and foremost important measure is open-communication. In any organization where there’s employees from diversified backgrounds, there needs to be a set of rules and regulations, safety tips and strict actions against any discriminatory behavior. Bullying fellow employees should not have a place in any organization and required protocols should be followed to protect the fellow employees from any misconduct. There’s also a need to bring about policies and procedures to help overcome the language and cultural barriers so the information given or received is well understood.
2. Each employee should be treated as one individual. Instead of making assumptions about someone’s behavior and attributing it to them belonging from a certain background, each employee should be judged on the basis of their merits and capabilities. The organization should acknowledge, and also encourage employees to realize that an employee’s only value isn’t just their background but also their individual talent and skills.
3. Employees need to be aware of their existing cultural bias and get rid of it. They also need to be more accepting towards their fellow employees and not attribute the employee’s behavior to their respective background.
4. The organization should also hold proper and effective meetings where open communication is encouraged and employees honestly share their concerns with each other.
As Alan Joyce once said, “We have a very diverse environment and a very inclusive culture and those characteristics got us through the tough times. Diversity generated a better strategy, better risk management, better debates, and better outcomes.” When the employees are well-managed, the organization will eventually become more creative and innovative, hence more turnover and increased productivity and profits.