How Does Your Company or Organization View Diversity?
It’s funny but unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, it seems as though the words diversity and diversity awareness have been thrown around a lot by organizations. Many of them, both for profit and non-profit, have focused their attention on diversity and have made a strong argument as to the importance of having a diverse workforce who understands diversity and has a minimal level of diversity awareness.
What I find interesting is that many, in an attempt to ensure that their organization embraces diversity, go the route of having their personnel take diversity courses covering the different types of people that exist in the world. Many of these same courses spend much of their time going over the aspects of either the different cultures or the different lifestyles that customers or fellow workers may have. They have a tendency of simply focusing on tolerance or “leaving your biases at the door” when coming into work. Treating everyone as equals is important, but there is a more important aspect to diversity that many organizations are completely missing the boat on!
One of the most important aspects and strengths of diversity is the different perspectives a person or group may have about an issue or problem. I’ve found that people from different cultures and different backgrounds have a tendency to analyze problems in different ways. This is one of the main essences and beauties of diversity. Having a diverse group enables an organization to address the same problem they may be facing from many different angles.
It is the differences of opinion, the differences of perspective from a diverse internal population that gives a group or organization a strong advantage against a competitor. If an organization or company is made up of people who fall into many of the same types of social, ethnic or lifestyle groups, then they may be at a disadvantage.
Have you ever found yourself being forced to re-think the way you address an issue or question simply because someone else is addressing the same problem in a different way than you would have?