How You Can Cultivate a Diverse Workplace

This article was originally published on Stephen’s websiteThe Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

What is workplace diversity? How does a company obtain it? To put it simply, a diverse workplace recruits and hires dissimilar people from varied backgrounds to cultivate a community that is rich with skills and operational models.

When most people think of workplace diversity, their minds likely jump to the gender and ethnic makeup of an organization or team within that organization. They think of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action laws and acts, but far too often does the real benefit of diversity within an organization fall through the cracks. Diversity in and of itself extends far beyond just which bathroom you use or from what country your grandparents originate.

The true value in fostering a diverse workplace is the ability to nurture innovation. When you place the same sort of people in the same room, they’ll most likely discuss and decide on similar ideas. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, cultivating a workplace where communication is open and employees share a similar value set can be an asset.

But what happens when you place people who aren’t similar in the same room? They learn from each other.

This is the key to growth. This is the key to unlocking your company’s potential for it spurs a new mindset into action. Diversity allows a range of ideas and background to play off of each other. They may strike dissimilar chords at the beginning, but this is an important aspect of growth.

Different minds from different backgrounds bring different ways of thinking and problem-solving to a business. Not all problems can be solved with the same approach, this is a central tenet of corporate brainstorming sessions and weekly meetings. These meetings would accomplish little if each chair was occupied with an Ivy League educated 65-year-old business major with 40 years in the industry who likes fishing, George Orwell and the San Diego Padres. Instead, diversifying your meetings, and your workplace, can open new doors and solutions that would otherwise go untouched.