Self-Awareness Workshops

Diversity

10 Tips to Promote Workplace Diversity

I get a lot of questions from my clients about what are some practical things they can do promote diversity and inclusion in their organizations.  We often focus on policies and procedures but there is an additional element that profoundly affects our workplace environment, our own behavior.

Think about the power you have to make your organization a welcoming and safe place.  You set the agenda and the tone that guides your entire organization just by setting an example.   Some points to consider include:

1.  Treat everyone with respect regardless of their age, race, culture, physical ability, appearance, education or religious background and without setting them up for failure or ridicule.

2.  Have non-punitive policies in place to deal with conflicts that arise from people having different points of view and backgrounds.

3.  Establish and ongoing, open and respectful dialogue on diversity.

4.  Create a workplace that is a forum for people to share opinions without attacks, retribution or denigration.

5.  Practice a zero tolerance policy for any behavior that belittles people.

6.  Design a workplace that rewards people who work well with others.

7.  Discourage cliques or other exclusive groups.

8.  Build a workplace where people speak to each other respectfully and listen to other points of view.

9.  Provide ongoing training opportunities focusing on diversity and inclusion from the top down, everyone required to attend.

10.  Include diversity and inclusion in the values statement or mission of the company and, more importantly, practice behaviors that reflect your commitment to diversity.

These ten items are the building blocks of diversity and inclusion.  They are not difficult in and of themselves if you value them in your organization and practice them on a daily basis.  When leaders commit to following these principles they show their workforce that diversity is a high priority at the company, not a painful and sporadic activity they have to suffer through.

These ideas can be implemented without creating chaos in your workplace.  They simply require buy-in from leadership and ongoing training and support to build in accountability.  Think about yourself for a moment and how many of these points you practice daily.  To create a genuinely diverse workplace you and your employees will behave this way most of the time and it will eventually become your company culture.

What will you do to promote diversity in your workplace?

Take care,

Guy


When Diversity Isn’t an Issue

Workplace diversity is as positive or negative an issue as any leader or organization makes it.  Diversity can be a powerful tool to bring people together and use the talents and knowledge of your employees or it can generate fear and mistrust.

I tend to focus on workplace behaviors that produce positive results and create productive work environments.  Let’s look at what might happen in a workplace if diversity is a negative.

  • Employees view each other as different.
  • People don’t trust each other.
  • Some people are treated differently than others.
  • New ideas may not be welcome.
  • Leadership does not reflect the workforce.
  • Differences are viewed as negative.
  • Individuality is discouraged.
  • Diversity isn’t discussed.
  • Differences are viewed as a threat.
  • Resistance to change.
  • There are exclusionary groups or cliques.

What might happen if you view diversity as a positive factor?

  • Differences are valued.
  • Less conflict because people value each other.
  • People learn about each other.
  • More trust.
  • Fewer divisions between people.
  • Leadership is diverse.
  • Greater collaboration.
  • Diversity is not an issue.

It takes so much effort to resist diversity because people just can’t be jammed into one mold.  Even organizations that consider themselves homogeneous will find a wide range of thoughts, behaviors and abilities in their workforce, they just don’t call it diversity.  By ignoring or minimizing the value of diversity they actually make it a bigger issue than it is.

When diversity isn’t an issue you free yourself up to focus on creating an even stronger workplace.  Leaders have the ability to create diverse, thriving workplaces where there is a lively exchange of ideas and perspectives and people of every description are celebrated.  What will you do to make diversity a non-issue in your workplace?

Take care,

Guy


Diversity Training: 10 Benefits of Workplace Diversity

Walk into any workplace and you’ll get a pretty good sense whether their leadership values diversity.  Better yet, visit the executive suite and see whether their leadership reflects their workforce.  I’ve talked with leaders who get bent out of shape about diversity training because they think it’s about redistributing power or opening up wounds.  I like to think of it as a way of building a stronger organization.  Here are ten benefits of workplace diversity.

  1. Employees get along better.
  2. People trust employees outside their own group.
  3. Everyone is welcome and respected.
  4. All ideas and perspectives are welcome.
  5. People’s talents are recognized.
  6. The company culture encourages positive interaction.
  7. Cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives.
  8. Leadership and employees aren’t separate.
  9. No cliques or privileged groups.
  10. Celebration of all people.

Think of what your workplace would be like if you enjoyed all ten of these benefits.  Resourceful leaders understand that having their people get along and support each other creates a much more effective organization than one filled with mistrust and strife.  How will you start enjoying the benefits of diversity in your workplace?

Take care,

Guy

Diversity Training: Diversity Is All around You

When I facilitate diversity workshops and seminars, I’m gratified to see a wide variety of people in the room with different perspectives and life experiences.  Some people hear the word diversity and perhaps perceive it as being a nuisance, extra work or something unfamiliar.  That’s OK because it is precisely a variety of ideas and perspectives that makes the world more interesting.

In practice, diversity is really just a reflection of the varied talents, abilities and experiences present in any given environment.  Diversity is all around us.  How do I know?  I see it everywhere.  Let me give you an example from any of the workshops I facilitate.  When I look at the participants I am constantly reminded that:

  • No two people look exactly alike in the room
  • No two people hold the same beliefs in the room.
  • No two people have the same life experience.
  • No two people love exactly the same movies.
  • No two people hear what I say in the same way.
  • No two people love exactly the same music.
  • No two people love the same books.
  • No two people have the same voice.
  • No two people think of the topic in the same way.
  • No two people love all the same people.

There are many more things that could go on the list.  We don’t always realize it, but we are constantly moving in a world of vast diversity.  It’s up to each of us whether we choose to celebrate how great we all are follow another path.  Which path do you choose?

Take care,

Guy

Diversity Training: The Benefits of Diversity and Building Relationships

Diversity is about building strong relationships with others. We frequently get caught up in the superficial attributes of our differences while forgetting how much we have in common.  Building relationships is one of the most direct ways to get rid of a “difference-based” model of diversity.

When we focus our energy on differences we tend to behave in ways that emphasize the things we don’t share.  If, however, we give more importance to simply building relationships with each other we tend to look for the things that will bring us closer together.

Building relationships is an elegant solution to a complex issue and it can make a world of difference in how our workplace functions.  When people consciously put their efforts toward connecting with each other and promoting meaningful relationships, differences seem to melt away and we become aware of the possibilities of connecting with each other.  How do you build diverse relationships in your workplace?

Take care,

Guy