Diversity and Inclusion at the Workplace and its Impact on the Culture of the Organization

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Diversity, today, occupies a prominent place in modern company’s cultural messages. Overall, organizations have focused on conveying their commitment to and belief in a variety of diverse-led cultures. Nonetheless, an average employee is probably not going to understand what that really involves within their work environment. Furthermore, by and large, it’s not satisfactory if leadership completely comprehends and embodies a true diversity, let alone inclusive, culture. 

When we hear “diversity”, we consider race and possibly culture. Obviously, when talking about the diversity of ethnicity, race and culture are key elements. However, diversity is much more than that. Diversity measures the difference people actually bring to the table. It could be gender, ethnicity, or experience and cultural background. Diversity cuts across all aspects of our lives and it plays a significant role, as crucial as assisting us to survive. 

Importance of Diversity in Workplaces 

When we meet, live and work with individuals who are different, we are bound to be exposed to novel ideas and better approaches to thinking. Blending in with people of various foundations and life experiences brings us to address why we are doing things the manner in which we do. It forces a questioning of values and beliefs. 

Another advantage of diversity is that different thoughts and perspectives can protect us from the danger of groupthink. A powerful urge to adjust and not be distinctive can cause one to not speak up or raise different ideas. This leads to a uniform way of thinking within a team. 

The challenge of working in global organizations is to bring different people together and to make them think in different contexts, which is not always easier. Because if you have homogenous opinions, that is much easier than having heterogeneous opinions. However, gradually the results are always getting better. Nonetheless, experts suggest that leaders need to be conscious about it and understand that there is more disruption in a diverse team. Once leaders have tested that and when they realize that the results are better, they can do that over and over again. 

Hence, diversity keeps us sound physically, professionally, emotionally, and financially. It encourages innovation and creativity. When we live, work, and play in culturally diverse communities, we are better, and that is the reason we need diversity. 

Diversity Drives Innovation, but is it not a Risk Factor for Chaos? 

When organizations have different opinions, it doesn’t really create chaos. It only brings different perspectives. For example, when we think about innovation and only one group inventing something without thinking about how they will sell considering the opinions of people from diverse backgrounds, then it isn’t the right invention. Janina Kugel, serving as one of the Board of Directors at Konecranes,  thinks chaos is rather an excuse for people who don’t want to work in diverse teams. But the truth is those excuses are not really comforting. 

While initially, this —”however we generally do it along these lines!” may feel awkward, it very well may be liberating. Finding out about various lifestyle experiences permits us to see that there are numerous methods of getting things done. This diversity can liberate us from the strain of adjusting to a one-size-fits-all way of life. 

Do People with Different Backgrounds Enrich Teams? 

Different or diverse teams bring in different perspectives as they have different ways of interacting. For example, when we work with different people like Asians, Americans etc. we need to understand everyone’s opinions. Everyone in the organizations should be culturally adept at what it means to have someone in the team with a cultural background who would never speak up if not asked. If everyone learns that, it’s easier for companies to navigate. 

In What Ways Diversity Changes Team Collaboration? 

Diversity definitely enriches everyone as diverse teams keep on learning different things. There are cultural backgrounds that employees understand in terms of how they see others. They can then follow them. However, that does not mean employees can feel what a particular cultural background means. For example, most women have felt sometimes that being somewhere alone when it’s dark can be dangerous. Most of the men have never felt that experience because they never had that thinking. So, do you think a man will still understand that crossing a park at 9.00 PM for women is a different thing? Hence, it is critical to foster a culture that focuses on and encourages employees to accept such elements. Secondly, understanding that it’s not about diversity, it’s about inclusion, and that means allowing different opinions. 

Without inclusivity, the advantages of a diverse workplace are ineffectual. Together, these two components can make high-performing, trusting, collaborative teams in which each member feels valued and adds to the success of the organization. 

Role of a Leader in Diversity 

When leaders welcome and praise a diverse organizational culture, they’re not just maintaining ethical company policies, they’re also acquiring an upper hand. 

Further, leadership style is different across countries. For example, Continental European leadership style is still very hierarchical, where things are changing and one can see different environments. However,  managing leadership style is always dependent on the individual person. Many countries foster a corporate culture where more people mingle together from all different parts of the planet, which obviously changes teams and overall society as well.  

Leaders should distinguish organization and department goals focused on diversity and inclusion, and consequently guarantee that employees comprehend, concur with, and are invested in these objectives. Leaders would then be able to imitate the practices that all employees should follow to deliver on those objectives, and set out open doors for all employees to communicate their ideas and feedback for improving the culture shift. In any case, most importantly, leaders should guarantee that they are demonstrating the change. 

Hence, when leaders model the convictions, actions, and practices expected to accomplish organizational objectives, they empower similar patterns in those admiring them. The result is such that all employees of the organization start exhibiting and acting in alignment with the new convictions such as, “diversity makes our team more grounded and when we incorporate others, we accomplish better results.” Altogether, these patterns push the entire organization towards more noteworthy diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which produces improved topline results. 

Wondering how it can improve topline results? Stay tuned for the next article! 

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