Published Date: 06/30/2014
By Pat Rountree
Diversity in the workplace can result in looking at workplace challenges from different perspectives that can lead to better solutions, new or improved products and processes, customer satisfaction and a competitive advantage. Having a diverse workforce is unlikely to lead to those benefits, however, unless that diversity and the unique ideas and perspectives that come with it are valued.
We tend to be drawn to and are more comfortable with people who are like us. It is easier to talk to people who have similar beliefs and interests. However, each exposure to new ideas and beliefs can broaden our perspective.
A recent article in Harvard Business Review identifies beliefs and activities that thwart the ability of organizations to benefit from diversity and inclusion:
- Managers may trend toward hiring employees who are similar to them in beliefs, attitudes, even race or gender.
- Supervisors may subconsciously favor employees similar to themselves: accepting their ideas, having closer work relationships, and favoring them in opportunities like training and promotions.
- Minority employees may try to conform in order to be accepted, resulting in the loss of valuable input and different ideas that could lead to innovation.
- Employees in the majority may resist management efforts toward diversity and inclusion, fearing they would lose favored status.
We all bring unique experiences, relationships and knowledge to the workplace. Leaders who create a workplace where diversity of ideas is valued and who create a culture of inclusivity for all employees will benefit from a think tank that can lead to better ideas.