When you ask people what defines diversity in a business setting, the things that often come to mind are race, religion, gender and age. While an obvious mix of these characteristics in your personnel pool is the most observable measure to claim diversity in your workforce, these descriptors just barely scratch the surface of what truly makes an organization diverse. More importantly, they do not address the critical topics of how diversity is managed and how it impacts business.
Throughout my work with organizations, my efforts as a manager, leader, facilitator and consultant have created environments in which employees from a broad range come together in the spirit of creating something beyond the capabilities of any monoculture. One of the greatest skill sets required today is the ability to work across multiple cultures and disciplines.
Diversity is such a buzzword in today’s corporate world. Between raving about their diversity strategy, diversity initiatives or diversity recruiting, “diversity” seems to be the trend among the best companies in the world. The unfortunate trend that has become overly apparent to me is that diversity has really just become a numbers game. My question is: what comes after “diversity”?
One of the Rules of Engagement that we promote during our respectful workplace program is ‘to value the many different sources of knowledge that exist’. While we present this as a guideline to consider during the program, I’ve also found it equally useful in my own life.