September 24, 2019
Workplace diversity speaks directly to the culturally diverse nature of our country and the world. From daycare to university, cultural diversity is not only abundant but also necessary and the workplace should be no different. In order to understand the importance of workplace diversity, we should begin by understanding what cultural diversity means. By definition, cultural diversity is the presence of various cultures or ethnic groups that not only share a particular space but also recognize, respect and appreciate each other’s differences. The term diversity aims to include all present differences such as age, political ideologies, race, gender, socio-economic status, religion, physical abilities and sexual orientation.
With a combination of different perspectives and experiences, a culturally diverse team is more likely to develop unique, meaningful solutions to the particular problems faced by their departments and the organization as whole. Each individual will bring their personal set of ideas to the table which may be backed by their heritage or general life experiences. This allows the team to collaborate in an inclusive way in order to develop effective strategies that can be used to approach the task at hand. A fresh, unique approach to daily obstacles and functions of an organization may ultimately be the differentiating factor between themselves and their competitors.
A wide range of talents, skills, qualifications and experience creates a pool of productivity. Employees are able to learn additional skills from each other that can then be applied to their particular field and department. This creates an obvious ripple effect; meaning that as one employee learns something new, they can then expand on what they have learned before sharing this new-found knowledge with the next employee. Employees are also more likely to feel more motivated to complete tasks when they have learned a new way to approach it and in turn, improve or streamline the process, cutting down on overall production time.
Direct interaction with people from different backgrounds provides an opportunity to learn about their heritage, beliefs and culture that no textbook can teach. When colleagues discover that they can enrich their own lives and expand their understanding of different cultures, they become more enthusiastic about engaging with each other. This engagement leads to the building of trusting relationships which further encourage team-work and support in work-place activities as well as on a more personal level. Through this, we can see that diversity can be directly linked to employee engagement which is linked to overall morale and in turn, contributes directly to the company’s culture.
Coming from university or daily life where diversity is more than apparent, individuals are more attracted to environments that further facilitate, nurture and support individual differences across all cultures. Furthermore, when employed in an environment that is inclusive, accepting and respectful, employees are more likely to stay for longer. There is a major correlation between workplace segregation and an increased employee turnover.
Organizations who value diversity end up gaining a positive reputation through recruiting individuals from all walks of life. Such organizations will be well sought after by potential employees. Furthermore, customers feel valued by companies that recognize the importance of workplace diversity and are therefore more inclined to support such companies. A loyal customer following undoubtedly has a direct impact on profit and the overall success of an organization.
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