What are Workplace diversity and its benefits?
More than a new trend, more than a tool for updating the company's image, diversity is a new reality, personal or professional. By building a heterogeneous workforce, the company includes and welcomes under-represented communities. In addition to ensuring its growth, it also contributes to the emergence of new ideas. Let's explore workplace diversity and its benefits for your business. Let’s get into it!
What is diversity?
Beyond culture, in the literal sense, diversity is the new way of seeing the world. In business or elsewhere, the planet is a melting pot of different cultures. Diversity is living proof. Diversity in the broad sense is defined by the inclusion of people with a wide variety of traits. In a company, a diverse workplace is made up of employees with different characteristics. This includes race and ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, and level of education.
If race and sex are inherent elements, diversity is also made up of acquired characteristics. These characteristics offer one of the most valuable benefits of diversity in the workplace: new ideas. A culturally mixed group encourages the emergence and proliferation of new ideas and innovative solutions.
Workplace Diversity and its benefits
Diversity benefits employees first. When each member of the team is valued, accepted, and adequately represented, he/she feels at home. Your workforce is more like a family, creating a positive environment that promotes the development of everyone's full potential. Diversity also promotes freedom of thought and expression. This enhances creativity and widens the range of skills by hiring people from all walks of life. The company has various skills. These factors influence productivity directly and favorably. When employees feel good, they work well. They are more involved in the organization and look after their interests better because the organization "makes them the same." As a result, productivity generates higher profits, while dedication to diversity strengthens the reputation of the business.
How to build diversity
To reap the benefits of diversity in the workplace, it must be established and promoted. This is not without challenges. Better to avoid approaching diversity in the context of rules to be applied. The key: to integrate diversity at the heart of the company by presenting it as an integral part of the environment. By promoting recruitment based on merit and qualifications, you will most likely hire people from diverse cultures. Diversity will settle in on its own. Equity is one of the foundations of diversity, so make sure you treat everyone equally. It may be "common sense," but it is worth repeating it. From the very first questions in the job interview to the highest level of promotion, be sure to put procedures in place to ensure equality.
Diversity at work: enriching and fun!
If diversity at work promotes personal and professional development, it can also be a challenge. On the one hand, we learn from each other. People from all over the world contribute valuable experiences from all walks of life. Thus, they help their colleagues and their organizations to evolve. On the other hand, we must create a harmonious environment to promote this healthy exchange. However, we have to work hard to deconstruct the prejudices and limitations that are often deeply rooted.
Hiring a diverse workforce-hand is the first step: more ethnic, more gender diversity, more Aboriginal nations, and more visible minorities. But it does not stop there. Now that the team has grown into a pretty mosaic of identities, it is necessary to promote diversity and ensure harmony in the workplace. How to do?
First, it is important to clearly establish the safety of our workplace, a space without judgment or discrimination. This may seem trivial, because we assume that, as adults, it is acquired. Not always. It must, therefore, be specified at the outset.
Mention it during training; integrate it into your company policy, etc. Encourage your employees to be open to the opinions of their colleagues. There is no need to suggest that you are watching them. We can suggest avoiding debates on sensitive subjects such as race and religion at work. If it is appropriate, dare to humor by adding, for example: "Do not discuss sports either-even if the supporters of the Bruins in New York may find it difficult!" "Make it a clear, formative, and fun experience!
To take full advantage of diversity at work, training in cultural intelligence is a definite asset. Perhaps you need to deal with employees who have fundamentally different views because of their culture. Your guarantee of success: your knowledge of each position and the underlying reasoning. This will help your employees or colleagues to find common ground. As the school of life knows no holidays, keep learning! Have you just hired a person from a country you know little about? Take the time to read a country profile like those offered by the BBC. Do you have the opportunity to go abroad, visit an overseas office, and get to know other teams around the world? Take it! These are experiences that will serve you faithfully for life!
An effective way to promote diversity in the workplace is to color learning in a playful tone. Organizing events for various communities will benefit your environment in many ways. This will celebrate the different cultures within your team and allow your employees to feel welcome at home. This will educate colleagues about the customs and traditions that shape each culture.
In addition to spicing up the lives of your colleagues with unforgettable experiences, your workplace will be all the more lively and exciting! It is always a good idea to introduce other cultures through popular aspects such as music, art, history, especially the food! Make sure you have typical snacks on the table! Creating a diversity committee is a great way to organize such events. Encourage your employees to contribute and share their ideas for planning events and parties. Your committee can be made up of a handful of people, but make sure they get closer to their colleagues from different cultures.
Some event ideas…
- Ask your Muslim colleagues to prepare a cultural feast dedicated to Eid.
- Invite your Caribbean brothers and sisters to display the flags of their countries during Caribana.
- Celebrate the diversity of genres and allow your teammates to express their identities freely
- Be creative, and never miss an opportunity to enhance the diversity of your workplace!
Author: Vicki Lezama