Diversity: Making it Work

DIVERSITY: MAKING IT WORK AT WORK

The Challenge of Inclusion

diversity

What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word DIVERSITY?  For most of us it’s race, culture, gender or ethnicity; those obvious differences between people that we can see without looking too hard.  Although these groups are the basis of legal definitions that support the EEO laws, the definition of diversity has grown to include all the individual differences that make each of us unique.  Our personalities, thoughts, opinions, ideas and beliefs, skills and talents are as different from each other as is our DNA.  And what would it be like if people truly saw these differences as bridges between them rather than barriers?  How would people behave at work with each other and in business interactions with customers if they didn’t carry their biases, prejudices and fears along with them?  When people accept and leverage their differences they are better decision-makers, more capable problem solvers and more cooperative team members. When they learn the cultural competencies they need to communicate through differences, productivity increases.

When people are accepted, listened to and valued, they’re free to innovate and contribute. When people don’t respect differences, they may say and do things that are harmful to both co-workers and customers, putting themselves and their organizations at risk for costly legal actions.  The purpose of Diversity: Making It Work at Work is to raise people’s awareness of the impacts of their behaviors and teach them the behavior skills they’ll need to build bridges between their differences so they can work better with and through each other.

 

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