DIVERSITY NO MUST-HAVE, RATHER A GREAT-TO-HAVE
In the last two articles, there has often been mention of why diversity needs to be shifted right to the top of companies’ agendas and be seen as more than an initiative brought on by government legislation and societal pressure groups. Instead, I would urge companies, and indeed all people to view diversity as something great-to-have, something that enriches every person and place where it is present and practiced. The quote below from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” introduces the wonderful mosaic character and enormous benefit-blend of having and embracing diversity in general and then I have listed a few further foods for thought for companies and business decision makers on this fascinating subject.
„There are not more than five musical notes,
yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination
they produce more hues than can ever been seen.
There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of
them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.“
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
- Employees that operate in a diverse workforce take the benefits home with them, and they use what they learned at work to increase understanding of occurrences in private life.
- Diversity hiring opens the door for a highly qualified employee who could benefit the company with knowledge and skills. In a trying economic climate, worker productivity can mean the success or failure of a business. A company with a diverse workforce may be more productive as people of different cultural and religious backgrounds can generate ideas and come up with solutions that may be helpful for the company. For example, a company’s marketing department may want to target middle-aged, African American women. Having an African American woman on staff could boost worker productivity by helping the rest of the marketing department generate ideas to gain new sales.
- Diverse employees can help a business tremendously, especially if the business operates multinationally. Such employees offer insight for marketing techniques that would appeal to a certain demographic, give other employees new and innovative ideas, and increase worker productivity.
- Having people of varying cultures, backgrounds and languages working together improves customer service. Their collective backgrounds and experiences make them more understanding of various lifestyles and better able to relate. Body language can mean different things in different parts of the world. Without understanding other cultures and lifestyles, there is a greater risk of misunderstanding and even offending customers.
- Having a diverse group also means that the group has access to a much larger network of contacts than a homogeneous group. If the board of directors of a company is from the same culture, gender and socio-economic background, the group will appeal to a limited number of people. However, if the board of directors is a diverse group, they will have contacts from a wide spectrum of the community and will be able to draw on more people for ideas and resources. Similarly, a business group that brings in people from all around the company and from different levels of management and labour has the potential to get ideas and input from a broad network of employees.
- As you are making diversity a higher priority in your company it is imperative that you keep the lines of communication open. Try planning events within your groups or as an entire company, in which you celebrate and embrace some of the new cultures, ages, races, spiritualities and sexual orientations that have become a part of your company.
- A company that embraces workplace diversity attracts a wider pool of candidates for its open positions. Additionally, higher-educated candidates exposed to diversity in college may perceive a diverse company as being more progressive and desirable.
- Involve senior employees in the diversity process as much as possible. Make sure that the diverse workforce you wish to implement is evident at all levels of the organization. Ensure that all members of the senior staff are comfortable talking about diversity issues and that they understand them well. Have the members of your senior staff mentor members of the company that they do not know well, especially those who they do not have much in common with like a different gender or race.
There is no doubt that diversity provides our society and culture with unique and inspirational perspectives and that it is good to be diverse to avoid sameness. Imagine if everyone was 45 years old, or spoke just one language or sang just one song. AS 45-year olds, we would lack the wisdom of the aged and the creative spontaneity of the youth. We would all be beating the same drum and it would not be long before that beat becomes incredibly monotonous. Instead we can choose to be diverse and start appreciating the beauty of the mosaic that this creates – not a mosaic with an end, rather one that has no end and can continue to grow and become more interesting and multi-faceted that could ever have been thought possible.
Über Marinda Seisenberger:
Marinda Seisenberger ist Speaker, Trainer und Coach und gilt als führende Expertin zum Thema „Diversity“. Der rote Faden „Vielfalt“ zieht sich auch durch ihren Karriereweg. In ihrer Heimat Südafrika leitete sie drei Institute für Erwachsenenbildung und führte die Abteilung Corporate Communications eines global tätigen afrikanischen Entwicklungskonzerns. 1999 wurde sie Partner einer Sprachschule in Deutschland. Unter dem Slogan „Take Your Brand Abroad“ unterstützt sie heute als Speaker, Trainer und Business Coach zahlreiche Geschäftskunden, darunter auch DAX-Unternehmen, im Ausland erfolgreich zu arbeiten. Sie ist überzeugt: Vielfalt ist ein strategischer Erfolgsfaktor und Innovationstreiber für Unternehmen. In ihren praxisbezogenen Trainings bringt Marinda Seisenberger Mitarbeitern die Bedeutung interkultureller Unterschiedlichkeiten und Vielfalt nahe und zeigt, wie unbewusste geschäftsschädigende Verhaltensweisen im Ausland erfolgreich zu vermeiden sind. Ihre mitreißenden Keynotes zu den Themen „Vielfalt im Flow“ überzeugen durch ihr Know-How und ihre Leidenschaft zu ihrem Thema. Marinda Seisenberger ist GSA Certified Professional Speaker und Mitglied der German Speakers Association (GSA). Mehr Informationen auf http://www.marinda-seisenberger.de.