Diversity in the workplace - How to thrive as an organisation
Promoting and supporting diversity in the workplace is an important aspect creating a strong, motivated and respected workforce. Everyone in the organisation must be valued as an individual.
Today we explore what diversity and inclusion means in the workplace, and how an effective strategy can support an organisation’s business objectives.
Benefits of diversity in the workplace
There is a significant competitive advantage to be gained by investing in diversity in the workplace. Here are some of the benefits:
Diversity of thought
People of different backgrounds, experiences and work experiences produce a large quantity of unique ideas, bouncing ideas off of each other can create new innovative solutions to problems. It is essential to make use of each individual’s strengths and collaborate with others to deliver efficient results.
A diverse team doesn't just introduce new viewpoints, they also trigger more intricate thought processes that are typically absent in homogeneous groups. If suggestions and new ideas not raised they never have the chance to be discussed and considered; that is the real value of diversity of thought.
Guarding against Groupthink
Groupthink occurs when people within a group feel pressured to conform to the expectations of the group, as a result they agree to sub-optimal decisions without raising their concerns. Those involved often fail to see the larger issue being created by not being proactive.
Commonly individuals engage in groupthink for fear that their objections might disrupt the synergy of the group or fear that their suggestions may cause other members to loose respect for them.
Organisations that value open communication are more likely to engage in conversations about diversity. Discussing issues rather that brushing them away is of utmost importance.
Take advantage of diversity
To fully take advantage of a diverse workforce ensure that all individuals have an equal voice and are respected. An organisation that fills diversity quotas but doesn't align it's culture is one destined to miss out on the real benefits.
Leaders have the responsibility of ensuring that quiet team members speak up and have a chance to contribute during meetings. They need to ensure everyone is made to feel comfortable saying anything that they want to say.
Being able to speak openly and ask questions is key to ensuring that all opinions are respected.