Workplace diversity can come in all shapes and sizes including differences in age, gender, race, religion and education level among others. These differences can make a company strong, particularly if they are representative of the target customer or consumer base at large. However, they can also cause conflict among employees. In addition, studies have shown a lack of diversity within corporations and other organizations, specifically at the top level.
Research has shown that those companies with higher levels of diversity outperform those with lower levels. In fact, numbers released by McKinsey show that companies with a diverse workforce are 35 percent more likely to earn revenues above the industry average. Additional research done by the Boston Consulting Group showed similar results. Their study found that organizations that had more diversity also saw innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than companies with a less diverse workplace.
It is important for your company culture to help promote the positive elements of diversity at your workplace. This means, teaching and training employees to respect differences and to communicate effectively with one another.
Although most modern organizations are aware prejudice in their workforce should not be welcome or tolerated, there are a variety of issues that can become diversity problems if they are not actively sought out. These include:
Respect. Everyone at the company should be respected and treated with dignity regardless of their background, gender, or lifestyle preference.
Ethnicity/culture. Today’s marketplace is a mixing pot of individuals from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. They all have something unique to add to their workplaces.
Gender. Employees should be treated equally regardless of their gender. This goes deeper than pay equity. Many women in the workforce have several issues that can hinder their ability to contribute to their full potential in an organization.
Age. This type of discrimination can severely harness the opportunity that organizations have to grow and adapt to industry changes. These issues can include stereotypes of younger works as lazy and not able to offer insight because of their lack of experience. However, it can also work against older employees who may be close to retirement and are seen as no longer relevant to the organization.
Disability. Diversity in the workplace needs to include those with disabilities. While they may have physical or mental limitations, they still have something unique to offer.
Even if your organization has not had any problems with diversity issues or conflicts, it is important to communicate your company policies to employees and to help them understand the benefits of diversity.
Here are a few ways that you can help develop a diversity-friendly workplace.
Differences can become a hindrance to any workplace mentoring programs as it can directly impact the quality of connection a mentor and mentee have. However, it doesn’t need to be difficult. By being aware of the unique needs and expectations of each participant the mentor-mentee match can be customized to create a growth opportunity for everyone involved. Mentoring software can help make the best mentee-mentor match based on criteria defined by the program manager.
Yet, the participants do not have to be identical for the match to be successful. In fact, research has demonstrated that some differences between a mentor and mentee can lead to better learning experiences.
One of the best ways to ensure a successful mentor-mentee match is to use a mentoring software program to create the match. It is also advised that each participant is given some training, which can offer them some tools they can use to develop a good working relationship with one another.
Diversity in any organization should be welcomed and celebrated. Research has shown that diverse workplaces outperform those organizations that lack a high level of diversity in their employees. Companies can help overcome conflict caused by differences in race, age, gender, religion, education level and more. From offering diversity awareness training opportunities to developing and updating policies that relate to diversity such as harassment. It is important that everyone, from management down to support staff, work to fight prejudices that can cause conflict and hinder the unity and productivity of the organization.