25 Examples of Diversity in the Workplace

We literally live and breathe in a diverse world but we sometimes forget to take a moment and reflect on how many opportunities and possibilities it offers us.  Perhaps you’ve met leaders who create cliques or design hierarchical work environments where there is a privileged group.  The remarkable thing is that it requires conscious thought and action to create this type of workplace. Leaders have to deliberately select the qualities they prefer and put the systems in place to make it happen.  They could just as easily build workplaces based on an entirely different set of characteristics.

Here are twenty examples of diversity in the workplace, each one can be used as a way to bring people together.

  1. Age.
  2. Gender.
  3. Race and ethnicity.
  4. Education.
  5. Physical appearance.
  6. Physical ability.
  7. Culture.
  8. Problem-solving ability.
  9. Critical thinking ability.
  10. Team building ability.
  11. Communication ability.
  12. Income.
  13. Music enjoyed.
  14. Type of books read.
  15. TV shows enjoyed.
  16. Experiences when being raised.
  17. Language.
  18. Capability for empathy.
  19. Abiltity to be kind.
  20. Ability to motivate people.
  21. Ability to work with others.
  22. Job description.
  23. Listening ability.
  24. Conflict resolution ability.
  25. Level of self-awareness.

People are only as different as we make them out to be.  We choose which characteristics we want to highlight, mostly based on what we’re comfortable with.  If we wanted to, we could begin celebrating every quality our employees possess and increase our access to their amazing talents and abilities immediately.  Ideally, we use people’s unique characteristics to make our workplace stronger rather than creating divisions.  What types of diversity do you celebrate in your workplace?

Take care,


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18 thoughts on “25 Examples of Diversity in the Workplace

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    August 25, 2011 at 5:27pm

    #18 & #19 (empathy and kindness) — I would never have thought of these characteristics as examples of diversity; but since they are on this list, I thought about their inclusion and I realized that these are key qualities to making a diverse workplace “work”. Without empathy or kindness, how would I ever be able to relate to someone who is so obviously unlike me. Those two characteristics give people the ability to bridge differences.

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      Guy Farmer

      August 25, 2011 at 7:26pm

      Well said Lauri, I appreciate your insightful comments. Hope you’re doing well, Guy.

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    lauren clarke

    March 22, 2012 at 12:08pm

    i agree with all 25 of these listed, i wish that diversity did not exist in our society today, but unfortuneately it does, what has the world come to

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      Guy Farmer

      March 22, 2012 at 7:30pm

      Thank you for your thoughts Lauren. I like the idea of focusing less on the differences between us and more on what brings us together. Take care, Guy.

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    August 31, 2012 at 12:14pm

    To ensure the fruit of diversity in the workplace, affirmative action program should be applied which is sometimes difficult to perform. Is it?

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      Guy Farmer

      August 31, 2012 at 4:59pm

      Thank you for your comment and question Sharmin. I focus on helping people practice postive behaviors so that they don’t have to refer to their HR policies or applicable laws whenever a diversity issue arises. For example: If you work with the organization’s leaders and employees and help them learn and practice behaviors that promote diversity, you’re less likely to constantly rely on the legal or procedural framework. It gives the people involved another tool to create a welcoming work environment. Take care, Guy.

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    September 15, 2012 at 2:40am

    I agree with all 25 types of diversity listed in the article. But I was wondering if we can use the same kind of theoretical approaches of management to resolve issues arsing from such diversities at our workplace? Thanks

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      September 16, 2012 at 12:36am

      Great question Archie. As you’ve indicated, the examples listed can be used to deal with many workplace issues. A skilled, self-aware manager will understand how to use each one to resolve the challenges that arise. Take care, Guy.

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    March 26, 2013 at 6:58am

    Thanks for your good work. The twenty five examples listed, how can they improve or deter organizational performance?

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      March 28, 2013 at 9:42am

      Thank you for your question Malick. Any of the examples in this article may be viewed positively or negatively. For example: If people in your company view age as a negative they will create a work environment where only certain employees are hired or certain ages are favored; if age is viewed as positive or a non-issue then people of all ages are accepted and welcomed. Each leader and, by extension, the organization decides whether people of all types are accepted or whether impediments are put in place. Perhaps a good starting place to evaluate how your organization is doing is to go through each item on the list and ask if it creates any kinds of challenges in your workplace. That process will suggest areas that need attention and give you an idea of what kind of training or education you might offer. You’ll also find that it helps to start at the top by making sure leadership accepts and values people of all kinds. Take care, Guy.

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    April 11, 2013 at 4:21am

    this is very true, my questions is that, what can be done to enhance sustainability and environmental responsibility in the workplace?? it would be helpful for an answer to my question please

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      April 12, 2013 at 12:25pm

      Thank you for your question Sarai. I’ve found it helpful to look at any of the items on the list and think in terms of how I can make it part of the company culture. For example: If I want to help people practice team building so they can connect on a deeper level and value each other’s points of view, I institute an ongoing program that teaches people how to build effective teams and work well with each other. The idea is for the organization to make a long-term commitment to help people move past differences and begin focusing on the things they have in common. It’s the process of creating a workplace where the items on the list bring people together rather than divide them. Take care, Guy.

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    June 27, 2013 at 10:33am

    This is great! But what diversity challenges do we face in a team setting and how do we address them?

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      July 7, 2013 at 10:15am

      Thank you for your question MD. You might find it helpful to think of the items listed as a potential challenge depending on how you deal with them in your workplace. The difficulty that many leaders run into is that they view these items as negatives instead of opportunities to improve the functioning of the organization. In order to address any challenge that arises, it’s often beneficial to talk about the issue openly and practice some collaborative problem-solving to develop a resolution that works for everyone. Take care, Guy.

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    November 23, 2014 at 7:50am

    Very useful! But in a health and social care environment/care setting what is a example of using diversity?

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      November 23, 2014 at 3:31pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful question Becca. I’ve found it helpful to think of diversity as an opportunity to highlight and put into use the strengths people bring to the table. Each person in any setting or environment will have certain interests and things they love to do or talk about. The idea is to take each person’s area of expertise and allow them to share it with the rest of the group rather than trying to fit everyone into the same mold. Diversity then becomes a mindset where we celebrate each individual’s unique talents regardless of their place in the organization. Cheers, Guy.

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    December 28, 2014 at 11:21am

    What are the major characteristics of diversity in organizational behavior?

    • Permalink  ⋅ Reply


      December 29, 2014 at 9:02am

      Hi Asif. Thanks for your question. I’ve found it helpful to think of diversity as the ability of an organization to respect and value the various talents, behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, worldviews, and ideas that their employees bring to the table. When an organization values diversity, they are likely to do things like ask their employees for input and use their varied viewpoints and ideas to solve workplace challenges and build a more cohesive organization. Take care, Guy.

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