Celebrating diversity at work

Celebrating diversity at work

“To realize that all people are alike and all are different is the beginning of wisdom,” said author Jeffrey Fry.

We couldn’t agree more!

In the past, employers and workplaces often prided themselves on building organizations full of like-minded people. At that time, it meant an aggregation of intellect that could be an unparalleled advantage. Cut to 2020, and this mindset is as further away from the truth as it can be.

Today, we all live in an interconnected world, and workplace diversity is no longer the elephant in the room. Employers and organizations see it as a novel path to build globalized teams that scale both organizational thinking and operations. Prospective employees on the other hand, see diversity as a measuring scale, that most likely influences their willingness to accept employment offers.

Workplaces become reflections of ourselves

By building diverse workplaces, we are in fact, building microcosms of our social cultural landscape and therefore inclusive work cultures can be a valuable learning experience for everyone involved. With nurturing and conscious orchestration, an inclusive policy can help unleash innovation and empathy in ways that outdo what homogeneous environments offer.

Let’s look at what research says on the subject. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This finding, according to the research is significant for tech companies, start-ups and industries where innovation is the key to growth.

A Deloitte Millennial Survey in 2018 showed that 74% of individuals believe their organization is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion. The survey updated in 2020, notes that job loyalty rises as businesses address employee needs, from a diversity, inclusion and sustainability perspective.

Building a diversity strategy

So how do we go about building Diversity and Inclusion in a workplace? Here are steps to take:

  • Consciously craft a workplace strategy that brings different people together
  • Launch mentorship initiatives that bring seniors and juniors closer
  • Ensure you keep organizational or personal bias under close check
  • During appraisals, make sure you appreciate every employee’s contribution, even often overlooked ones
  • Value opinions shared by members, even if they are different from yours
  • Don’t assume any answers. Ask questions to understand views that are different from yours

Diversity is not just a strategy to talk about. It is truly a tool to empower people with the respect and appreciation everyone deserves. And when you are inclusive about different cultures, gender, age, disability, ethnic origin, etc people working for you feel greatly valued. Remember, diversity is about appreciating uniqueness.

Kavitha Rajasekhar, Managing Editor, CXO Connect ME