In a business climate defined by complexity, diversity, and globalization, today’s most successful organizations understand that diversity offers a strategic advantage. Diversity can be defined as understanding and accepting the differences among people with respect to age, culture, gender, mental challenges, physical challenges, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social upbringing, etc.
Rapid advancement in technology and the birth of a global economy bring the people of the world closer together. Organizations need to support diversity because it has the potential to increase productivity and create competitive advantages. Diversity creates new and more effective processes, better solutions to complex problems, increases creativity, and drives change.
For businesses to continue to be effective in encouraging employees to contribute to the overall success of the organization, leadership must recognize and capitalize on the strategic advantage of diversity. Diversity becomes a strategic advantage when it is intentionally created and allowed to become a key factor in decision-making and other aspects of the organization.
Organizational diversity is the bridge between the company, the employees, and the future. By aligning diversity goals with the goals of the organization, there is a greater chance that diversity will become a part of the organizational culture.
Eight Ways to Improve Organizational Diversity
1. Create and empower a diversity committee.
2. Integrate diversity with management and leadership practices.
3. Communication is key. Have management communicate their support of diversity initiatives and programs.
4. Build diversity goals into broader business goals.
5. Provide proactive training programs on diversity.
6. Think globally and build diversity into your organizational strategy.
7. Engage employees (management and employees) as partners in your plans for diversity initiatives and programs.
8. Make sure that everyone is being treated equally. Respect, tolerance and compassion must be at the core of any diversity program
We must continue to improve our understanding of the importance of diversity in the workplace. How to attract talent, how to include their knowledge and abilities in the organizational structure. How to retain them, how to inspire them, how to make them a part of a successful diversity initiative. We need to align our diversity initiatives and programs with organizational strategy supported by the knowledge and resources necessary to be successful.
Leaders of the future must have great vision and be able to align and communicate that vision with their diversity initiatives across the organization. They need to invest in people, particularly in their diversity and leadership development. Organizations need to increase their desire and ability to be agile. This will not only help drive change but it will help us proactively adapt to change, not just react to it. And, obviously, we need to realize that diversity offers a strategic advantage.