Diversity includes a number of important human characteristics that affect an individual’s values and opportunities and perceptions of themselves and others at work. These primary characteristics include, but are in no way limited to age, ethnicity, gender, ability, race, and sexual orientation. Diversity includes other important factors such as: geographic location, military experience, work experience, income, religion, first language, organizational role and level, communication style, family status, work style, and education. Diversity is more than EEO and affirmative action. Diversity is not just a commitment to women. Diversity is not just a commitment to people of color. Diversity is a commitment to employees and the entire business organization.
Diversity Is Not About Quotas! To some diversity is defined in a negative light as “affirmative action”, which when viewed as a buzzword, immediately brings to mind the idea of quotas in minority and female hiring or promotions. For diversity programs to succeed, diversity initiatives must never become a game of counting heads. Diversity is not about quotas, rather it’s about capitalizing on human potential and experience in the working, educational and other social environments. Diversity is not about correcting a past imbalance, being a good corporate citizen, or even about the law. Diversity is about constructively using those things that make us different and unique that reach far beyond generalized group descriptors.
Workplace diversity is a reality. Employers must now successfully manage that diversity. It can be a valuable asset for a company, but it can also create problems. If an employer’s workforce is producing at a lesser rate because of diversity-related friction, there’s a problem that needs immediate attention that will affect the employer’s bottom line.