Diversity and inclusion is more than just ethnicity and gender

We all have differences in background and perspective. Succesful diversity and inclusion is about having a culture of acceptance, respect, and most importantly teamwork in the workplace. Diversity is more than just ethnicity and gender.

Respecting differences

According to recruitment software company thiswayglobal, in the professional environment, there can often be a lack of acceptance for individuals of different races, ages, genders, languages, political beliefs, religious beliefs and sexual orientation, as well as communication styles. This only serves to deter managers from addressing issues around diversity, as they fear productivity and morale will suffer as a result; conflicts and tensions between employees could lead to staff refusing to work with each other. However, firms with high levels of diversity perform exceptionally well financially in comparison to non-diverse firms.[1]

The media often portrays diverse businesses as vibrant and forward-thinking, which in turn is appealing to consumers. In order to maintain this reputation the levels of respect within the business should always be upheld. Disagreements are unavoidable in all organisations and conflicts will arise as a result of differences in approaches to work. However, the significance of respect among the workforce in an organisation must always be communicated and understood in order for the workplace to retain a productive and professional environment.

Making it work

Despite there being potential differences between employees in an organisation, effective teamwork is essential to ensure operational efficiency and innovation of products and services. Creativity thrives through the enthusiasm of employees and their will to work together as a team.

With the growth in diversity comes the rise in issues concerning diversity in the workplace. According to thiswayglobal, there are seven big diversity issues which involve:

  • Lack of acceptance and respect
  • Accommodation of beliefs
  • Ethnic and cultural differences
  • Gender Equality
  • Neuro-diversity and the differently-abled
  • Generation gaps
  • Language and communication barriers

All employees within the workplace have their own opinions and perspectives on these topics, and this can lead to reduced productivity as disagreements and conflicts arise, meaning managers have to turn their attention to resolving issues that emerge between employees.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion

Having a more diverse workplace brings many benefits, A varied workforce from different demographics and backgrounds contributes effectively to successful products and processes. Individuals coming from diverse backgrounds often bring along with them a range of talent, skills and expertise. For example, an employee from overseas may have better information on international market trends and how to appeal to those consumers. The recruiting of employees who speak a range of different languages can enable an organisation to work on a global basis as well as interact with a broader client base. In addition to this, diversity will help to boost the reputation of a business as employees will feel more engaged with their work in an environment they are happy in.

Manager need to own diversity

Managers are at the centre of diversity, and it is their responsibility to encourage a diverse and inclusive work environment. This can be implemented by taking steps to avoid unconscious bias when recruiting candidates as well as educating existing employees on the benefits of diversity. Preparation for diversity within companies could also include development programmes for minorities with language barriers.

Diversity within a workplace means more than just demographics to me, it’s a combination of acceptance, respect and teamwork between employees to create a vibrant, creative and thriving environment in the workplace. Diversity is more than just ethnicity and gender.

Source: 1. Mckinsey – Why diversity matters (January 2015)

Rate This: