Diversity, to a layman, is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs. And also to this same layman, it is natural instinct to conclude that once a group of people working together to build up a business do not share core values, they are bound to experience confusion or engage in protracted arguments about activities only to realize later on that they have been in agreement all along – they had been using different definitions for the same terms.
In today’s highly diverse organizations, it is a necessity that people working in an organization or employees in a business enterprise have diverse values and cultures. This is extremely important because an organization’s culture is driven by the values throughout that organization. Employees need to feel included — that their values are being recognized, understood and respected. They need to feel that their ideas and concerns are being heard. Those conditions create strong motivation and momentum for strong satisfaction and performance in their jobs, hence an increase in productivity and maximum output.
Modern companies often strive for greater diversity among their employees, hiring workers of different races, creeds, genders and ages to bring a more varied experience to their ranks. Diversity carries with it a tangible number of benefits, but it also entails new challenges and obstacles to overcome. A company that can successfully manage a diverse workplace may possess a solid advantage over companies that don’t embrace diversity so readily.
A diverse workplace may facilitate employment in far-flung parts of the world. Diversity births a new means of expression as employees from different cultures and backgrounds communicate in slightly different ways. This can lead to confusion and frustration, as missed signals result in miscommunication, and thus lost productivity. Miscommunication can also enforce existing stereotypes about minorities, further exacerbating tensions, and in the worst cases leaving the company vulnerable to lawsuits. Independently, scenarios of this description are inevitable in most businesses in our modern world and if handled properly, a diverse workplace will generate more income for the company in the form of broader sales and greater productivity.
In some cases, however, greater workplace diversity may require an initial investment. For example, if the company hires an employee in a wheelchair, it may need to install ramps and elevators to let that employee move about more readily. Or it may need to spend time and resources teaching current employees a new language to better communicate with new workers from a different country or culture, same with employees that have flaws and preferences that doesn’t sit well with your initial orientation.
Finally, in my opinion, irrespective of any factors, a more diverse workplace offers more potential solutions to problems and a more flexible and accommodating office environment. Employees reflecting a wide variety of experiences are more likely to provide a greater variety of options – some of which may never be considered by a less diverse workplace – and can possess more experience in implementing such options. That adaptability gives the company the ability to face challenging situations more readily, and thus respond to changes in the business environment. Rotation of ideas would be distinct and unique based on the numerous phases of life these individuals find themselves in. This, to a very high degree increases and maximizes the productivity of a business solely because the employees are comfortable in their own skin while the employers are ready and available to stand on common grounds with traits or personality faults that might not sit well with them concerning their employees.
Once we as humans are ready to understand that diversity is inevitable and we all wouldn’t coexist as we expect we should, if we are ready to come to a melting pot on such matters, everybody would be fine. It’s not inevitable for both parties to reach an agreement and resolve differences. The employer would be happy, the employees would be happy and the business would bloom, yielding fruits.
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The Olatorera Consultancy brand has grown from an ambitious solo-preneur to a team of highly assertive “Africanists” focused on providing the seal and stamp of “Africa’s Best” to great businesses in Africa and beyond. Olatorera Consultancy has an annual outline of businesses we work with. We currently do not accept unsolicited applications. To network with the team at Olatorera Consultancy Limited, please add your company to the reviews page here. An Olatorera Consultancy company representative may be in touch with you shortly after reviewing your company’s readiness for business consultation services.