Diversity has a much broader scope than race and gender. Today's offices include people of different ethnicities, ages, income levels, eduction and physical abilities, bringing a melting pot of employees together. When there's mutual respect of each other's differences, diversity can be an asset. However, when poorly managed, diversity can breed resentment and draw harsh lines between employees.
Benefits of Diversity
Each employee brings his own life experiences to work everyday, and these unique viewpoints can benefit your organization. The different viewpoints often mean more creative ideas and can help the company handle changes and adversity more effectively. Your business can typically become more flexible which can be much more attractive to a large customer base, according to the University of California at Berkeley.
When employees show respect for each other, they are more comfortable sharing ideas with management and during brainstorming sessions. Without mutual respect between the employees, some who feel discriminated against might not share ideas for fear of being ridiculed.
Teams flourish when the group is cohesive and all the team members feel valued. Bringing a diverse group together as a team requires respect for each person's beliefs and differences. When the group members respect each other, they are usually more productive, reports the University of Florida, with members more willing to step in and help when necessary and better equipped to come together quickly to deal with adversity.
Conflict in the workplace slows down productivity as employees have trouble working together. It also breeds resentment and can lead to low morale. When employees respect their differences and embrace the group's diversity, they enter into discussions with open minds and treat each other as equals. Conflicts might still arise, but it's easier to resolve the conflicts when both parties respect each other and don't feel discriminated against when they don't get their way.
- University of California San Francisco: Chapter 12: Managing Diversity in the Workplace
- University of California Berkeley: Why Diversity Matters
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Diversity in the Workplace: Benefits, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools
- Career Thought Leaders: Age Diversity in the Workplace
- Stanford University: Study on Diversity in the Workplace
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