Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What diversity really means



The push for workplace diversity and inclusion has been going on for decades, not just in the U.S. but all across the globe. While most people think that the concept of workplace diversity is chiefly about creating an inclusive workplace for people from different cultural backgrounds, the idea is actually bigger than the issue of race and racial discrimination.

Workplace diversity means recognizing and respecting individual differences. These differences include several dimensions such as race, age, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, social status and even political beliefs.

But diversity goes way beyond these dimensions. It also means being open to people with different experiences, personalities, communication styles, physical appearance and level of comprehension or learning.

Diversity yields significant benefits to people, businesses and communities. Among many others, diversity allows a person to explore new cultures and backgrounds, which can be essential in his or her personal development. This cultural awareness gives people a deeper level of understanding about the world. It also helps people understand themselves and enables them to relate with others more effectively.
Several factors are important in achieving diversity, not just in the workplace but even in businesses, schools and communities.

The first step to achieving diversity is knowing a person’s traits, both the visible and the invisible. We must be very careful not to pass judgment on a person based on superficial traits such as a person’s clothing or even a person’s hairstyle. Judging others based on their outward traits creates a gap that could prevent people from creating bonds, business relationships or friendships. Thus, it is important that we get to know the person deeper before passing judgment.

After knowing the person, the next step is to welcome him or her into the community. Once we get past the person’s traits, we can freely interact with that person regardless of his or her cultural background, sexual orientation or appearance.

All in all, respect and acceptance are the foundations of diversity. To know more about this topic, visit diversityworking.com and see how U.S. companies and the government work hand in hand in promoting workplace diversity across the country.

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