1. Diversity in the workplace represents an overall need and requirement for equity, legality, fairness, and efficiency. Yet, it must be understood that diversity is not merely a compliance issue. Accordingly, the three main determinants of diversity and the means through which they can benefit a given organization are with regards to the overall level of increased efficiency that a diverse organization can benefit from, the added potential of integrating with the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer base, and seeking to make a given organization/firm/entity representative of the general society and/or population within a given region.
Each of these benefits and/or takeaways from the article that was presented have little if any relationship to legality issues. Seeking to specify this point strongly is extremely important due to the fact that so many stakeholders view legality as the primary “check in the box” that they must engage in order to fulfill a given diversity requirement. However, as has been presented, diverse city in and of itself has a litany of tangential benefits that do not have anything to do with the overall level of legal requirements that may define or constrain it. For instance, by engaging with a diverse group of individuals within the workforce, and seeking to ensure that diversity is represented at every juncture of an organization, the overall level of representativeness that the organization can have will greatly be maximized.
Within the current environment, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that the firm/organization/business entity is fully able to speak to the specific needs of its consumers. As such, having a workforce that is diverse and representatives of this consumer base is not only good business practice, it also promotes a greater level of understanding between the consumer and the service/good provider/producer. A related but dissimilar level of benefit can of course be had with respect to making a firm representative of the general community and/or region that they serve.
This not only as a benefit with regards to the fact that the firm clearly exhibits a commitment to hiring available talent within the workforce, it also has to do with the way in which stakeholder and community buy-in occurs.
If a given firm/entity is viewed as one that is not diverse and ultimately will share little if any interest in seeking to promote diversity within the region, it is not only likely that consumers of the end good/service will be turned away, available talent will also be discouraged from applying to this particular entity. A final determinant that must be noted is with respect to the overall diversity of viewpoints that would be engaged within a firm that prizes diversity as one of its primary goals.
Diversity is oftentimes viewed in a one dimensional framework. What is meant by this is that diversity is seen as something that can only be defined with respect to age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, level of disability, or any other number of constraining and/or defining characteristics. However, diversity is much more than it merely a listing of apparent life decisions, levels of ability, and/or ethnicity or religious views. Instead, seeking to foster diversity has a direct and indirect level of benefit with respect to the way in which teams and work groups can seek to solve different issues.
For instance, if a firm that represents an overall lack of diversity seeks to integrate with a specific problem, the overall effectiveness of its solutions will be in question due to the fact that it has not engaged a diverse group of individuals in seeking to solve these issues. Naturally, this is not to state that a firm that engages and diversity is effectively much better in problem solving; rather, it merely delineates the fact that such groups are much more likely to bring alternative viewpoints and additional understanding to situations that might not otherwise be understood in the same light. 2. With respect to creating an action plan for seeking to eliminate the problems that exist within a given organization that suffers from a lack of diversity, it must be understood that this process cannot take place overnight.
Rather, seeking to establish a healthier culture and one that places an emphasis upon the degree and extent to which diversity can be leveraged as an asset and not a requirement must take time.
Within such an understanding, fostering diversity is a multi step process that begins with a clear delineation of focus amongst all of the team members and component parts of the organization/entity in question. All too often, firms throughout the world seek to engage a new culture merely by briefing upper management with regards to the way in which changes should be delineated within their respective departments. Although it is useful for these briefings to be made and upper management to be keenly and fully aware of the organizational and cultural changes that an organization/business entity seeks to engage, seeking to perform these merely by delineating tasks and impressing upon management a new focus.
Accordingly, in order for a cultural change to be noted, it is most oftentimes necessary for the human resources department to become intimately involved in seeking to promote this change through the offering of standardized and/or optional learning sessions to define the way in which the firm should seek to grow and develop in the near future. Although it is sometimes dangerous, seeking to point out the failures of the past as a means of defining and delineating a new culture is oftentimes one of the best ways in which a firm or organization can seek to impress upon the stakeholders the importance of pursuing a new path.
Although many firms might like to retain an element of omniscience, admitting to the stakeholders that the previous method of operation and culture was an ineffective means of continuing to further and promote profit and/or development of the business product is a useful and helpful way to engage with the necessity of changing cultural interpretations and including a higher degree of diversity. That actionable means through which diversity can be maximized within a given firm/entity is with regards to leading by example.
If the CEO/director of the organization engages with a cultural approach that promotes diversity and seeks to choose potential hires based upon the level of diversity that they represent, this cultural approach to an alternative model will soon begin to resonate throughout the rest of the firm. As such, seeking to engage the human resources department forcing diversity upon the mid-level management and decision-makers oftentimes backfires whereas an approach that is more amenable to leveraging the degree of respect that stakeholders oftentimes associate with the decisions of a manager, the degree of likelihood that an increased focus upon the importance of diversity will be represented is increased dramatically.
Although there is a litany of best practices that can be engaged with respect to seeking to foster a culture of diversity, it must be understood that no single approach in and of itself is sufficient. Rather, it is the responsibility of the respective human resources department, and stakeholders within the decision making structure of the organization, to ensure that diversity is leveraged in a multitude of different ways.
Through such an approach, the needs of each of the representative sectors of the organization can come to a more informed understanding with regards to how a greater degree of diversity can benefit them in the long run; not only provide a check in the box to requirements of other sorts.