Differences make us stronger as a group and contribute to the company's success… provided that they are properly harnessed.
People are different, be it because of their origin, gender, age or disability. Every organisation brings together unique individuals, each with their own personal, cultural and professional background. This mix of experiences and perspectives can benefit a company in many ways and offer added value.
5 benefits of diversity
- Attracts future employees: by opening your doors to a wide range of employees, you can cast a wider net and increase your chances of attracting the right talent.
- Boosts job satisfaction: employees who, despite their differences, feel welcome and appreciated in a value-driven corporate culture, have more fun at work and are all the more motivated.
- Fuels engagement: employees who, despite their differences, are trusted and given the chance to take initiatives, feel responsible and want to be involved in making a difference.
- Encourages innovation: diversity means different ideas and perspectives which lead to innovative products and services in an open corporate culture.
- Drives results: motivated professionals in an innovative business environment focus on the customer and achieve better results.
5 tips to manage diversity successfully
- Recognise the differences between employees and appreciate diverse standpoints and backgrounds, as they keep us sharp and critical, and often complement each other.
- Define common values and a clear mission for the organisation. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that all employees are pursuing the same objectives in a coordinated strategy.
- Implement an open and clear communication based on respect and trust. For example, don't interpret the feedback of others without a second opinion and without checking the intentions of their message, and don't jump to conclusions.
- Be prepared for resistance and discourage bad behaviour. Don't allow intolerance and prejudice. Give feedback, both good and bad! Highlight the benefits of individual differences and, when colleagues behave in a discriminating way, tell them so.
- Focus on skills, but select employees with high social and emotional intelligence. Since they respect not only their own feelings, but also those of others, this enhances their communication skills with regard to their colleagues and other stakeholders as well.
Our society has never been so diverse. This diversity in our labour market is bound to keep increasing as a result of globalization and our ageing population. The organisations capable of managing this diversity successfully will undoubtedly reap the benefits it entails.
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