Do Diversity Measures Work? Benefits of a Well-Rounded Team!
written by: Matthew Craig•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 7/24/2011
Having a wide variety of employee talent and background increases the effectiveness of diversity in the workplace. One demographic can only appeal to a very limited audience. As the world of globalization in terms of customer base increases, it is crucial for a business to keep up with the curve!
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Diversity is Cool
How boring would it be live in a world where we are all the same? This concept extends very vividly to the workplace where we spend the majority of our hours every day. Different viewpoints, accented by varying backgrounds, make the office, factory, agency--or whatever the workplace--unique. This fosters an environment that enables each employee to generate the most of his or her individual ability, and, in turn, benefits the company as a whole. The following gives a snapshot of the effectiveness of diversity in the workplace.
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New Methods to the Madness
We have all head the saying, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." As an employee in a diverse environment, this saying depicts a sometimes difficult concept. Many supervisors and managers, for instance, possess a 'my way or the highway' attitude toward different methods accomplishing the same purpose. Obviously, if a certain way of accomplishing a task does not yield the desired result, then that method should be aborted. However, there are often situations in a work setting where one employee has accomplished the same or similar task yet, based on his or her background, has executed it in an entirely different manner.
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Increase in Production
Globalization has been the most obvious and transparent example of the effectiveness of diversity in the workplace. The analytical and quantitative abilities of the Asian nations, for instance, has been of untold importance in increasing the quality of American firms in the last 50 years. As this universal pulling together toward a common goal has increased, it is of no surprise that production has increased. The key is to ensure that this uniformity sustains and grows. Continuing education related to the importance and prevalence of diversity on the job is a primary key to accomplishing this goal.
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In times past, English was the 'be all and end all' language needed to succeed in the workplace: Not anymore! Certain parts of the country, like Los Angeles, necessitate the ability to communicate efficiently with the Hispanic community. In Seattle, the ability to converse with the Oriental culture is of equivalent importance. What is the benefit to all this? If you answered, "To impress your former high school Spanish teacher," you are wrong! The reality of today's diverse, multi-cultural world is that the more languages you know and can use, the more valuable you are as an employee. Not only are some of your co-workers ethnically diverse, but others you deal with in business, such as customers, investors, superiors, etc., are also likely multi-cultural.
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Broader Customer Bases
In some form or another, each business possesses a customer base that is the lifeblood to its growth and survival as a company. The greater your company increases its effectiveness in matters of diversity, the broader the blanket that covers the influx of customers to the business. We have all seen the commercials, billboards, and advertisements that display the woman changing the tire. Why do companies utilize this marketing strategy? The simple answer is that they want to maintain their image of unbiased and non-stereotypical images. The more complex answer, and the reality, is that they realize that the larger demographic that is targeted in terms of their advertising, the bigger bang they will get for their buck. In other words, they will gain more revenue when those from varying orientations, religions, and cultures are attracted to their company and products associated with it.
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Different Solutions to Problems
Invariably, problems arise in companies related to a plethora of issues. As these problems arise and come to the surface, it is vital to have a list of solutions to the problem or problems at hand. Those from a variety of backgrounds can provide this arsenal of solutions. This does not just apply to the physical elements that make up your socioeconomic situation; this also pertains to those who have experienced many different problems and situations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) employs those who have been trained and involved in guerrilla warfare, as well as lawyers, accountants, and statisticians. Why? They all provide vastly different skills and talents that aid in solving a variety of tasks and issues, all related to the mission of the Bureau. This means a variety in the talent of personnel aides in solving multiple sets of problems, instead of selecting from a limited tool bag in terms of conflict resolution.
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Diversity Becomes Integral
As businesses continue to look toward other parts of the world in terms of outsourcing and expansion, the more effectiveness of workplace diversity becomes integral. Your business or company will benefit from implementing diversity into your business model. If it is already in place, utilizing the above concepts within possible training models will educate your employees on the importance of diversity to the success of your company, and in turn, their success as employees. Everyone wins when diversity is recognized, utilized, and implemented effectively!
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Green, Kelli et al. Benefits in the Workplace: Diversity, Challenges, and the Required Managerial Tools. University of Floria IFAS Extension, at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hr022