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What Does Workplace Diversity Really Mean?

Hey Compliance Warriors!

Today, I’d like to talk about workplace diversity. Right now, we’re seeing the ramifications of inequality and mistreatment of peoples all over the news and web. Unfortunately, we’ve been seeing it for years, and it’s often gone unattended. What first comes to mind when you think about diversity? It can, like much of the English vernacular, mean different things to different people. Diversity is more than any one definition, however, you’ll be seeing the word “equality” pop up several times in this article. That’s because equality is at the heart of diversity. We can hold mandatory training classes and have company policies to fill “diversity quotas,” but do those actions speak louder than words? Is there more we can do to make a real difference? Let’s go over the benefits.

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There are a number of practical reasons to keep your workplace diverse. You’re bringing in people from different walks of life, from other parts of the country, completely different countries, multiple genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. All that is to say, you have the potential to give a voice to people with varying experiences and workplace practices, molding your workplace into a model of efficiency and effective ideas that can bridge the gaps of what we’d consider a conventional workplace.  When we start out with that as the basis for our diversity hiring, we have a place where everyone feels comfortable and at ease. Nobody wants to be the odd man out in a place they spend 40+ hours every week. By staying diverse and treating people equally, you’re contributing to a workplace where everyone is motivated to contribute and to stay put, boosting your employee retention. That is especially important today when you have an entire generation of workers saying they’d rather make less in the workplace if the company culture is supportive. Coupled with the fact that the average employee will stay with a company for 3 years before seeking outside employment for better pay, you can see why creating an environment in which every employee feels welcome and excited to come into work is extremely important.

Where do we find these masterminds of inventive ideas and social support, though? The traditional notion is to hire someone based on their resume and that alone. However, hiring people based on their personality traits has its own merits. Bill Gates said that he would always “hire a lazy person to do a difficult job” at Microsoft. “Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” This mentality falls under the “work smarter, not harder” category of getting things done. Bringing people on that can find ways to expedite work so that everyone learns to be more efficient is highly valuable.

On the other hand, if you’re bringing in highly motivated, trainable people and you’re willing to provide that training and education, you’re able to mold a new face into someone who knows how you’ve been operating the company and can then contribute more effectively. They can offer their own ideas for products, services, marketing, and any number of things based on what you’ve shown them are the company’s needs. This collaboration creates buy-in to stay with your company because they see how much you value their input. You also make it easier for individuals to work together on projects when they have similar training. That leads to team building and creating a positive culture in the workplace.

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There is a multitude of reasons for maintaining diversity that we won’t go into because we’d be here all day. Suffice to say that taking real action and maintaining an equal representation of voices in your workplace can have tremendous benefits for your business. Anyone can talk the talk on social media or their company websites about supporting these ideas. Instead, let’s make sure we walk the walk.

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