Unit 1: Business Culture and Responsibilities
Learning Outcome: 02
Task 2.1 Explain what is meant by ‘diversity in the business context
Diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. In a nutshell, it’s about empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin.
Diversity allows for the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It means understanding one another by surpassing simple tolerance to ensure people truly value their differences. This allows us both to embrace and also celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual and place a positive value on diversity in the community and in the workforce.
Each individual in an organization brings with them a diverse set of perspectives, work, and life experiences, as well as religious and cultural differences. The power of diversity can only be unleashed and its benefits reaped when we recognize these differences and learn to respect and value each individual irrelevant of their background. At Global Diversity Practice, we help organizations to implement diversity policies that will help instill inclusion, respect, and appreciation across the entire workforce.
“Diversity” means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating differences. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:
- Understanding and appreciating the interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
- Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
- Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences. Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.
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As workforce demographics shift and global markets emerge, workplace diversity inches closer to becoming a business necessity instead of a banner that companies wave to show their commitment to embracing differences and change. Employees reap tangible and intangible benefits from workplace benefits, not the least of which include respect from co-workers and business gains.
Task 2.2 Recognise the benefits of having a diverse workforce
As workplaces embrace the idea of diversity, they often realize benefits that help improve their companies, from new ideas to increased international opportunities. Diversity can add varied ideas and perspectives to the workplace. Research compiled by the Journal of Small Business Management suggests that employers who recruit diverse workforces open their businesses to a wide range of ideas. Businesses compile these varied opinions and ideas as they make decisions about how to start, run, and finance their operations and market their products or services. There are certain traits of diverse employees in the workplace. These are:
Diverse teams are more innovative: When a company’s employees come from varying ethnic groups and backgrounds, they have a variety of life experiences to call on to solve problems and inform decision-making. Diversity helps employees approach things creatively and from many different perspectives.
A Harvard Business Review article found those companies with “two-dimensional diversity” whose leaders had three or more inherent diversity traits and at least three acquired from experience performed better than their competitors…………..