Monday, August 22, 2016

Diversity: How do we define it?

Management involves training our people and letting them do their jobs.  However, our employees are all different, and new differences can come to light everyday.  Through societal and cultural shifts, our diversity is growing.  Will we appreciate the differences among us and use them to our advantage?  The smartest organizations will do so.

To attract and retain the top workforce in today's changing climate, we must know who our employees are and value how they think.  This will not only help us manage our workforce effectively, but it will affect our organization's bottom line.  What happens when a valued worker wants a day off for a religious observance that we haven't heard of before?  What do we say to the father who asks to work a different shift so he can be home with his children during the afternoons?  Do we know how to answer the woman who insists that we owe her a promotion into management because none of our other managers are female?

Think about your answers to the following questions.  This is a great exercise to do with a group of managers.
  • What does diversity mean to you?
  • When you think of diversity in the workplace, what positive reactions do you have?
  • What negative reactions do you have?
  • What are the challenges of managing diversity effectively?
The topic of diversity generates a wide range of definitions and reactions.  For us to value and manage diversity, we must have a common understanding and definition.  For simplicity, let's define diversity as "the differences that make each of us unique." 

Until next time...

Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

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