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Diversity in the Workplace

I’m fortunate to work for a company with a wonderfully diverse team. Unfortunately, many businesses can’t say the same about their company. To be fair, a majority of hiring managers are not deliberate in their lack of attention regarding diversity.  Conversely, they are not meticulously making sure each category is checked off to reflect a balanced staff.

Workplace diversity is complex and multilayered. At its simplest, cultural diversity in the workplace is the hiring of people who offer a difference in backgrounds, race, gender, ethnicity, age, and religion.

The benefits of not having a monotypic workforce are greater not. Businesses offering a diverse workforce can create a competitive edge. It's encouraging to see a shift in collective perspectives, particularly at the management level, which enriches problem-solving and business strategy.

DIVERSITY IN TECH

In the past few years, the issue of inclusion (for people of color and women) has been illuminated in the tech space. Big tech companies have created initiatives to combat the problem; however, there has been little movement in the right direction when looking at the numbers.

For the most part, the stereotypical tech professional is a millennial white male.  Fortunately, things can be done to change the status quo. One area of focused change can be at high schools and colleges.  A great first step is to encourage and guide a diverse range of students into STEM, particularly in areas where the exposure is limited. Hiring managers and other decision-makers can make diversity a vital component of the recruiting process. As a result, the tech industry and society as a whole will benefit.

INCREASED MORALE AND DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

Without exception, people want to feel valued on the job. A culturally diverse team will enrich employees' work-life and company culture. Cross-cultural diversity is an opportunity to grow because people with various backgrounds bring different experiences to the workplace, and these differences provide occasions to share. Brainstorming takes on a whole new meaning with a full spectrum of perspectives to consider. The viewpoints and discussions are sure to be robust. The exchange of knowledge and communication can be empowering for the person sharing and insightful to the listener. In the end, it breaks down barriers, fortifies relationships, and helps push business agendas forward.

WHY DIVERSIFY?

Not every company is seeking to diversify out of a sheer desire to do what would be considered admirable. As a result of the workforce going global, there are greater possibilities for businesses to gain access to skilled technical professionals. These employees bring their unique experience, perhaps even a global network that can help organizational growth and the ability to scale.

It would be great for companies to diversify their staff based on equal opportunities. However, some diversity for other reasons, and decisions regarding the metrics to measure vary from one organization to another. For these businesses, the reason for diversity may not be as important as the outcomes it produces.

Attention-grabbing Team

It’s hard not to notice a diverse workforce! A company culture of diversity can bolster reputation. The tangible results of an equal opportunity message are evident. For example, companies that have a culture of diversity have the potential to catch the eye of job seekers who rank the attribute (of a future employer) as a priority.

The blending and collaboration of backgrounds can enhance business. Depending on the team members' associations, there may be potential opportunities to expand into new markets that were not under consideration. Staff with specific cultural knowledge or who speak foreign languages can be a big bonus. It is essential to have people on staff that can communicate with a wide variety of customers. The differences among teams can bridge divides and bring people together in the marketplace. It’s also true that people are often more comfortable when there is a commonality; whether it’s language or culture, but a diverse talent pool is helpful in business and life.

The benefits of having a diverse workforce outweigh any of the challenges that may occur in the process of creating a team that transcends a variety of boundaries. It’s important to note that diversity doesn’t imply that the same expectation of skillset, experience, and company culture fit, should not remain standard across the board.  Building a truly diverse team should be about adding qualified people to your team who will help in creating a company that is reflective of our society.

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