This is an old saying, which is true in many contexts. In the workplace diversity makes for a better and stronger workforce. It means more than tolerance of differences. Instead, it’s the recognition and understanding differences provide ideas, create connections and enrich the human connection.
Be clear diversity is broad, and includes more differences than most people think of. Of course it includes ethnicity, religion and sex, but there are many more types of diversity that can benefit your workforce. These include age, experience, disability, and culture.
Focusing on diversity has tangible and intangible benefits for your business. These include different perspectives, more innovation and creativity, and expansion of the pool of possible employees or co-workers. It also can present challenges including bias and resistance to change.
It helps to keep people engaged and provide opportunities for connection. If you have or plan to have a diverse workforce, you need to integrate diverse individuals at all levels. This means having diversity in your teams, committees and management. Instituting education and activities can bring people in a diverse workforce together and create opportunities for connection and growth.
You also will need to hold people accountable. This is difficult because many people aren’t comfortable with change. As your business changes and you make accountability matter, certain longer term employees may self-select out if they are uncomfortable with the changes being made. Others will grow and rise to the occasion. This is because making a change to your workforce to add diversity will alter your company’s culture.
You don’t just decide to try to have your company change its culture to become more diverse and it happens. You need to have a plan in place. Among other things, you need to consider what types of backgrounds may add diversity you believe will benefit your business, how to go about moving forward with your plan, and what you want your company’s culture to be.
This will not happen overnight. It’s a long-term strategy. If you are able to build diverse teams in your business, the road will have bumps, but it will yield positive results in the future. It will build a stronger community that will attract good and talented people.