Diversity Is Important
Diversity is quite the topic these days. Whether it be diversity in the neighborhood, workplace, or even in the government, “diversity” is the hot word that has been thrown around time and time again.
But is diversity actually a good thing in most environments? The answer is an outstanding “yes” across the board. Here is why… Continue reading
What Is Diversity?
It is very important to increase diversity in the workplace by improving your practices of recruiting, hiring and promoting. Diversity is as much about diverse talent as it is about diversity and equality. It has many different forms and layers including differences in age, ethnic background, gender and race. Diversity dimensions also include geographic location, income, parental status, marital status, and religious beliefs. All HR professionals have to make sure they know what barriers are in place to improve diversity and how they can respond to the challenge. It isn’t difficult or hard to create a more diverse workplace, so long as the right HR practices are in place.
United States demographics are shifting, impacting the mix of individuals employed by organizations. Workers’ cultural backgrounds and expectations—social, political and occupational—have the potential to enrich our national life and make our organizations more competitive. But before such benefits can be realized, business practices must be updated to reflect the changes in workers, and workers must learn to deal effectively with the differences in the workplace.
Understanding diversity helps facilitate personal growth and organizational change. However, comfort and ease in a workplace does not happen overnight. Every day we make assumptions about others. These assumptions may be based on past experiences, current perceptions, media stereotypes, or a friend’s opinion. We attempt to make sense of our world with the limited information we have at a given moment. If our assumptions are incorrect, we may run into trouble. When we are aware that people have different perceptions of the same issue, situation, or event, we can begin to focus on understanding the other person’s point of view and creating an environment that supports everyone.
Diversity has many forms and layers. Diversity is present not only when we see physical differences—such as skin color, types of dress, or physical disabilities—but also in our different cultural backgrounds. Diversity includes differences in age, gender, race, sexual orientation, and ethnic background. We were all born and raised within a cultural context, for example, in the northeastern United States, the deep South, or Latin America. These cultural contexts create differences in family structure, peer relationships, education, and other influences that contribute to who we are today.
Cultural differences influence the way we think, interact, and make choices. These characteristics may cause group members to interact in ways that enhance their relationships. They may also interfere with a team member’s ability to achieve his or her individual or group objectives.
In what cultural context do you view diversity issues?