As a female business owner, I understand the value of having and adding diversity to the workplace. As workforce demographics change and the world becomes a global market, workplace diversity becomes a business necessity rather than a cultural idea.
Diversity refers to those human qualities that are different from our own and how people perceive themselves and others around them.
Diversity is more than just gender and ethnicity, but can also include:
- marital status
- parental status
- religious beliefs
- educational background
- work experience
- geographic location
- learning styles
- any other perceived or real differences.
Diversity is especially valued in the workplace because it enables employees to relate to a wider customer base and to develop and adopt differentiated business approaches. To build effective working relationships among diverse individuals, people must start by relating similarities, not differences.
This approach is only sound if it becomes engrained in the company's culture. If a company has a robust culture that is committed to promoting diversity, then employees will be enabled to achieve their full potential.
So, why diversity? Here are some top reasons why diversity is important in the workplace.
- Workplace diversity fosters mutual respect among employees.
- Employees who acknowledge others’ differences often also find similarities, particularly when there are common goals - production and quality.
- Diversity in the workplace inspires employees to work at their highest ability therefore increasing the company's productivity and reputation in the marketplace.
- Diverse talents working together can supply a greater variety of solutions to problems by recognizing individual talents and experience.
- Truly diverse companies can attract from a wider range of talent to add a competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Better attitudes and more efficient processes can be reaped when synergy is built among teams composed of diverse individuals.
Diversity is a fact of life. It will only increase in the years ahead and the company that recognizes this and can plan on successfully managing and employing it will be the winner in the marketplace. Let's embrace this fact and learn from each other as we work towards a common goal by creating guiding principles.