Diversity at Work And Why It Matters

The term ‘diversity’ is frequently used. It’s used in social campaigns, amongst anthropologists, in fund-raising events, and even in your child’s social science textbook. But how often have you heard it in your workplace, much less employed it?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), ‘diversity’ is defined as “the collective mixture of differences and similarities that include, for example, individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviors.”

The lines between social, cultural, and more importantly geographical borders, are constantly blurring. This could be for a number of reasons such as migration, inter-racial families, political opinions, cultural amalgamation, and the like. And as this phenomenon continues to evolve, it is important that organizations not just acknowledge it but also proactively accommodate a diverse and inclusive workforce.  In fact, for over a decade, that’s exactly what Fortune 500 companies have been doing. Johnson & Johnson, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble, Mastercard, and Sodexo are a few names that have made it to the 2017 DiversityInc’s Top 50 list. (DiversityInc is a publication that uses sophisticated SAS software to analyze various factors such as workforce breakdown, employee resource groups, philanthropy and supplier diversity among others.)

So, why bother about Diversity at work?

Well, the first and most important aspect is that having a diverse and inclusive work culture improves a company’s bottom line. That’s right. A diverse set of employees bring an equally varied skill-set. It represents an opportunity for individuals to complement each other and pick up in areas where others are not as adept. Likewise, the cultural or personal expertise that each person brings to the table can be used to handle similar world markets. This creates a synergy that improves productivity and performance.

From a Hiring Managers perspective, having an inclusive work-culture also attracts better talent. When individuals, irrespective of religion, race, language, gender, and creed feel accepted and encouraged, they will actively look for job vacancies. And should they land a position, they will put their best foot forward, present their expertise and voice their opinions.

But beyond the ‘for-profit’ advantages that come with a diverse and inclusive work environment, organizations should actively seek to promote it, simply because it’s the right thing to do. It’s about inculcating a sense of equality and creating opportunities that are open to everyone. And that’s what organizations should strive for – for their own good and the common good.

How about you? Do you have a diverse & inclusive work culture?

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