In our line of work, we often hear people say things like, “we need to hire more diversely,” or “we need more diversity in the organization.” Diversity is largely believed to refer to what a person looks like rather than who they are. Diversity is so much less about what we look like, or what race we check on a box, than it is about how unique we are.
Think about it, diversity is how we as individuals think, what values we hold, how we approach situations, and the cultural traditions that shape our worldviews. Diversity is how we navigate difference. How we navigate difference is based on how uniquely made we are, as well as our culture or our “way of life” that has often been passed down through generations.
In the workplace, diversity is very necessary in order for the organization to function. Can you imagine how boring it would be if we all thought the same or believed the same things? But let’s forget boring. Without diverse thinking, the workplace would never thrive because we need the diversity of thought, experience, beliefs, culture, etc., etc., etc., in order to operate and grow a successful organization. For example, consider the human body and all of its parts. You can’t use your thumb if you don’t have a hand to house that thumb. What good are your feet if you don’t have legs to help them move? I think you get my point.
As you read this, pause and take a minute to think about your organization’s hiring practices, the morale, and the growth, or lack thereof.
Ask yourself a few questions:
Do we hire specifically with difference in mind?
Do we welcome candidates who will challenge our work culture?
Is our retention rate questionable?
Do employees stop talking when management walks into a room?
Am I personally welcoming difference?
If you answered “yes” or “no” to any of these questions, Bright Places can help you take an honest look at your organization’s challenges and opportunities for growth.
I’ll leave you with this. Next time you ask yourself if your organization is “diverse” enough, don’t just look around the room. Look in the mirror.
LaVada English is the CEO and Founder of Bright Places, Inc.. She holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and is a certified Intercultural development coach. In addition, LaVada holds several leadership and strategic people management certifications. The vision for better psychologically healthy work environments has driven LaVada to educate leaders and teams for over two decades.