Having a diverse workforce is a great thing for business; diversity in life experiences and perspectives open up new doors for healthy debate and potential innovation that will expand the economic horizons of an organization, resulting in higher performance and greater shareholder value.
However, having a diverse workforce can sometimes lead to inevitable conflict and be a wasted resource if not leveraged properly. People are unique, have grown up doing and believing different things, and managing this hodgepodge of workers with varying worldviews can sometimes feel like tiptoeing through a minefield – especially as an HR professional.
For employers, tapping into the power that a diverse workforce holds requires adept skills. Hiring an array of different people is a great first step, but if a company doesn’t know how to create an environment where everyone feels included and like they belong, then they will not gain access to the many benefits that a diverse team offers.
A key step to creating this environment is to promote a culture where everyone recognizes that all individuals bring value. Not everyone is going to agree with one another, and beliefs around politics, religion, and morality are going to differ, but by reminding staff that each individual brings value in some way, this helps create an environment that is more open to listening and learning rather than outright dismissing.
Encourage the concept of exploring differences as a strength or asset in the hopes of finding commonalities. Statistically, an employee isn’t going to be best friends with every single one of their co-workers, but employers have a responsibility of ensuring that they are creating a working environment that fosters respect and harmony.
Of course, there may be times where someone’s view on something may be harmful or perpetuate hate. In these instances, reporting this to your direct report is the best course of action so that HR can follow up and respond accordingly. But if someone’s worldview doesn’t create harm or an adverse impact for employees at work – but still some don’t see eye to eye – this is one of those times where ‘agreeing to disagree’ may be the best way forward.
People are becoming increasingly complex, and many employees are finally feeling more comfortable bringing their entire selves to work. But with this comes a new microcosm to navigate that employers must ensure they are on top of to avoid interactions spiralling into a much bigger issue than it might need to be.
What is important is placing a focus on these inclusive skills and harnessing them to create a cohesive and harmonious workplace. Managers who can coach the empathetic view of realizing that someone’s belief is true to them – even if it isn’t true to you – is a great way of helping employees understand and value differences of opinions.
And, at the end of it, the one thing every member of staff should have in common is their united goal to achieve the mission of the company they work for – so ensuring these goals are clear, concise, and communicated to each member of staff is a great tool for promoting unity.
If you would like to discuss how OrgShakers can help coach managers to create an environment that is not just diverse, but also inclusive to all, please get in touch with me at email@example.com