Many of the organizations I consult with have either been engaged in workplace diversity for quite some time or are newly involved. As I have worked with them on making this a sustained, strategic, and effective initiative, some realities have emerged.
These realities can help your thinking in this critical issue. Diversity matters, whether you lead an organization, work in one or are just concerned about the subject.
Here are some reasons why workplace diversity should be a priority.
Diversity increases the positives
There are many significant advantages to prioritizing workplace diversity. While research is continuing on this, here are four of the positives I have observed.
#1 – Better creative decisionmaking: the variety provides much-needed energy in how critical decisions are made
#2 – A broader perspective: understanding the mission of the organization from the vantage point of a bigger and more global level
#3 – Matching the market demographics: positioning the product or service to who is actually out there consuming
#4 – Heightened employee engagement: more and different people tend to increase commitment and enthusiasm in the workplace
Diversity decreases the negatives
Diversity also serves to limit negative consequences for the organization. Following are three of the negatives I have observed.
#1 – Losing relevance in the marketplace: the risk that the organization will be perceived as out of touch with the world
#2 – A drop in the credibility of the brand: the potential that the public will see the organization as being uncaring and self-centered
#3 – Losses in performance: the risk that not having the “positive disruption” of more diversity will limit the growth of the company. (TownsendNOW Members: You can watch my video on improving unhealthy company culture here.)
Diversity is the right thing to do
Principles should always outrank pragmatics. Even if the above advantages didn’t exist, we should be actively engaged in diversity because it is a fair and just concept.
Simply put, we have a responsibility to reach out to the marginalized talent pool to give them their chance to compete for work positions, and to succeed. I have never met a successful high-integrity person who didn’t think that he or she had been given support by others to get to their career position.
Take an action step on this critical issue. Read up on the subject, starting with the Wiki article about diversity to give you an overview.
If you are in a leadership position, make diversity part of the business and team conversations. The best places to start are with whoever is in charge of the company and the human resources department.
At so many levels, and for so many reasons, we all need to support workplace diversity in thought, word, and deed.