It's Not Just About Diversity; It's About Respect
We hear a lot about how diversity instills the best in what business is capable of doing, and this makes sense. With a widely ranging background of people existing in your company, stemming from associates who have varied experiences and skill sets derived from a multitudes of origins, it goes without saying that diversity increases the strength of any organization. Ranges of employees can come from different income levels, physical capabilities, ages, education, ethnicity, and even nationalities. As such, this kind of mixture can easily be a catalyst for difficulties in personnel interaction during projects and tasking.
Unlock Diversity’s Potential
The key to avoiding such a pitfall and, instead, unlock the potential of diversity is to ensure it begins traveling down the right road from the start. That roadway is respect. Without respect, diversity is a hollow shell ready to shatter into pieces at the first sign of a crack. In fact, diversity in the workplace doesn’t even work at all unless it starts with respect.
Respect is the ability to appreciate those differences that diversity brings, not just tolerate them. Respect relishes the uniqueness a collection of people from different places brings. It understands that while not always in agreement, the ability to have such a difference is what makes the difference in everything! This is not always an easy task to accomplish, as there are so many viewpoints and values that people bring to the table. And, the more people in your company, the bigger the effort needed to bring it all together.
Make it Happen
But, how do you establish respect in the working environment?
To start with, a business must generate a set of guidelines and policy that display the desire for respect and diversity. It must be written into standard operating procedures and mission statements. This documentation serves as a guideline for all associates to work from and provides an official foundation that your business can stand on in support of respect and diversity.
Secondly, training can help. More specifically, exposure to what respect is and how it is the engine that makes diversity run. You can’t expect people to just know these things. Sure, some of them will have such an aptitude and prior experience that will help them, but many will not. Your business will benefit from offering training programs which outline how respect can be applied to diversity and what the result will be. As well, an effective training program within your company can support the policy your company has in place described earlier. In fact, it should be part of your company’s procedures to have employees conduct such training and align that with the overall mission statement supporting respect and diversity.
Respect doesn’t always come naturally. It can only develop so much by sheer direction and requirement. One action that helps to create genuine respect is to ensure that your employees and associates are afforded moral events. This could be the company softball game, the company picnic, a beach outing, a BBQ, or anything that gets employees out of the work environment and into a more personal setting. What does this do? It provides members the opportunity to relate to one another. When people can relate to each other in some way, mutual respect can occur despite differences. The workplace doesn’t always provide such an occasion that a company event does. In a more relaxed, outside-of-work setting, respect has an increased chance at growing. That respect will carry over, no matter how small or large, into the workplace and will spill into the interactions of employees.
Diversity is like a golf ball that can only travel with the swing of a club, which is respect. Make respect the largest driver you have in your golf bag, and watch diversity soar through the air. Once this happens within your business, the possibilities of what your company can do are endless.
Article Author: Business Training Media
Business Training Media is a global provider of diversity and inclusion training programs for employees, managers, supervisors and students. The company has provided training solutions to over 22,000 organizations worldwide from start-ups to high-profile companies like American Express, IBM, 3M, FedEx, American Honda, Cisco, Verizon, Microsoft, AT&T, Bank of America, Google and thousands of others.
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