Encouraging Diversity in the Workplace

shutterstock_344201303.jpgBy now, it’s no secret that cultivating a diverse team can be helpful to achieving optimal success in your business. We all possess unique skill-sets that originated from diverse backgrounds, experiences and natural talents, and when we encourage that diversity in the workplace, those unique skills and traits blend to form a competitive variety of talent. The result? A high-performing, well-rounded team.

It is often natural for us to associate the word diversity with other words like culture or race; however, diversity runs much deeper. The concept of diversity also encompasses age, gender, education, thinking style, personality, and so much more. In blending people of different backgrounds, talents and experiences together in a professional environment, we are bringing more unique perspectives to the table. In addition, by blending a variety of perspective during the collaboration process, we will often see an increase in innovative thinking and decision-making.

So, how do we generate and encourage diversity in the workplace?

Take a Look at Your Customer Base

While you should always strive to hire individuals who are a great fit for a specific position, it is also important to consider if the prospect has a good understanding of your customer base and buyer segments, and if not, if they have the desire and drive to learn. Most companies have a very diverse buyer base, so why not strive to build a workforce that is equally diverse? You can use diversity in the workplace to increase understanding of the consumers you are serving, and how to propel your business forward based on that understanding.

Create Opportunities for Connection

While our ultimate goal is cultivating a diverse workplace, it also requires some effort to maintain. In bringing together a diverse group of people, some employees could be feel subject to isolation because of their background, culture or interests, and may have a difficult time finding connections with the rest of the team. In order to retain the diverse individuals who make up your team, you will need to ensure that they feel welcome and comfortable as integral part of the team. You can schedule happy hours, networking events and mentorship opportunities for your team to help generate a comfortable, open-door environment.

Take Advantage of Personality Profiles

Recently, my team participated in completing a DiSC personality assessment in order to measure individual patterns, behaviors and reactions to certain situations. The test gauges how a person responds to challenges, influences others, responds to processes and procedures, and how they prefer to interact with others. Why is this relevant to the workplace? This kind of test is invaluable to understanding your diverse group of peers at work, and how you can best work with them in any professional setting. If you can learn how to adapt your response to conflicts and situations based on the person you are working with, you will experience more effective conflict-resolution, productivity and less confusion.

There are many ways that you as a manager can encourage diversity in the workplace. If you see an area of opportunity within your department that could be improved by identifying a new pool of talent, voice your interest to your HR department or upper management.

How do you cultivate diversity with your team? Leave me a comment below!

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