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October 26, 2015

5 ways to cultivate diversity through communication

How does diversity affect the workplace?

How does diversity affect the workplace?

Maintaining diversity is an essential, legal and moral piece of the workplace. Diversity cultivates different thoughts and innovations, allowing a range of backgrounds to come together for a common goal, one that may have not been reached otherwise.
“Having a more diverse set of employees means you have a more diverse set of skills,” said Sara Ellison, an MIT economist, which “could result in an office that functions better.”
In terms of diversity, there are man
y issues that can cause it to fall to the wayside or take a less important role, even though it remains a key to success. Some of the most common issues include:

  • Differences in general beliefs
  • Generational differences
  • Gender differences
  • Miscommunication

Although this list is small, it touches on some of the most prevalent issues. How can businesses take a proactive approach toward remedying some of these problems?

  1. Acknowledge differences: One of the worst actions to take in a work environment is a failure to acknowledge differences. No one person is the same as another, in both a physical and emotional sense. By realizing these differences, businesses and employees can use them to their advantage, while remaining respectful at the same time. By listening carefully and with intent each time to varying ideas and opinions, workplaces can strengthen their creativity, increasing satisfaction and revenue in the long run.
  2. Be aware of body language: Body language is a huge factor in terms of diversity and communication in general. Although it may be hard to monitor facial expressions and body movement at all times, not doing so can create serious issues. When speaking with others, maintain an open and calm demeanor. Be sure to maintain appropriate eye contact, and respond, as with any conversation, when necessary.
  3. Create mentorship programs across age, culture, ethnicities, experience: Although opposites can butt heads, they have also been known to attract each other. In a work setting, by placing employees together that are vastly different, such as an older more seasoned employee, with one just out of school, different information can be shared. In today’s workplace, the mentorship should never be one-sided, and rather should be a mutually beneficial relationship.
  4. Provide employee development and training: If your office seems to be struggling with the concept of diversity, training and development can help. Sit down with your team and determine what exactly needs to change, what seems to be working and events that fall somewhere in between. Taking charge of the situation with a firm, quick response is most efficient.
  5. Take time for personal evaluation: If you feel as if there are many issues that involve you in the office, in terms of respect, communication and diversity, consider how your actions are contributing to them. Personal evaluation from time to time, both in team environments and alone, can help facilitate change. By targeting problems some may have with others, the bottom line can be determined and change can begin.

Training can help you tackle tough conversations regarding diversity – MasteryTCN offers a selection of diversity training courses to help get employees in the right mindset and give them the tools they need to work within a diverse workforce.

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