Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

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In the workplace, managers are expected to think and act in a way that does not exclude anyone.

Developing a better team
Diversity if often talked about, but understood little. Much like the words prejudice, racism, all-inclusive and non-judgemental, many people will use these phrases but have little appreciation, if any, of what they really mean. This is certainly true in the workplace where managers are expected to think and act in a way that does not exclude anyone.

The intention may be to be inclusive but sometimes, our own actions and behaviours can be the very things that prevent inclusivity. With courses to help manage diversity in the workplace available from NCC Home Learning understanding the concept and putting it into practice becomes easier.

What is diversity?
It a concept that encompasses acceptance and respect. It is an understanding that every single person on your team is unique, with differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs and other ideas and opinions.

By accepting and welcoming these diversities, people feel safe and nurtured in an environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond what some people see as simply tolerating someone, to actively embracing and celebrating these differences.

Why bother with diversity?
The way in which we run a business and trade with customers has changed enormously over the last decade or more. Online trading has meant that businesses are finding new markets and new trade partners in countries and places that before where just a name on a map.

As a result, businesses and their employees are coming across all kinds of cultures and peoples, traditions and routines that they may not have encountered before.

And people are travelling more too. At one time, the likelihood of someone leaving their town or city was low but today, with modern travel links, nowhere is inaccessible.

All this means that there is a fabulous mix of cultures and people. Managing and embracing this diversity has not always been an easy journey, for society, business or people.

Traditions are common and more firmly entrenched in a business setting than we would like to believe. There is a belief too that those people who are ‘different’ should be the ones to mould to fit in with the team because, as the saying goes, ‘that is the way that things have always been done’.

Business managers are, however, learning that this is not inclusive and neither is it accepting of the diversity present in a team. If people don’t feel safe, valued and comfortable, they will not contribute to the best of their ability.

It has taken some time to realise that the losers in this is the business or company themselves. Why allow a situation to continue where the business is not benefitting from the people that it employs?

The benefits of embracing diversity

  • Innovation – one of the most positive effects of diversity on a workplace is the boost that it provides in terms of innovation. There is an air of people learning from each other, with employees becoming more receptive to new ideas and innovations.
  • Reduce staff turnover – when diversity is not welcomed, it leads to conflict. In turn, this can lead to increase of staff turnover which will have an effect on the business with the constant need to retrain. Reputation can be damaged too.
  • Attracting the best talent – the most important asset of any business is the people. By embracing and encouraging diversity, a business is effectively welcoming top talent to its core.
  • Adaptability – when you have a mix of people, talent and culture you have a responsive team, a group of people that understanding how others function or may need to do business.

Managing diversity
However, diversity is not just about having a policy, there needs to be actions too, such as:

  • Making a conscious effort and taking steps to welcome applications from all sectors of society, and being conscious of this in work practices and ethics
  • Managers will need to be trained to understand their own backgrounds and opinions better, as well as boosting knowledge
  • The process of hiring staff needs to be accessible and all-inclusive too
  • Having policies and procedures in place but also a robust feedback mechanism so that these can be improved over time
  • Diversity training within the work place so that all employees have the opportunity to examine work ethics and practice.

Diversity courses from NCC Home Learning
For anyone looking to manage people in any business setting, understanding, welcoming and embracing diversity is essential. Managing it in the workplace is important too, including those employees or staff members who may be critical of some changes in practice and so on.

There are courses to help manage diversity in the workplace available from NCC Home Learning – enrol today!

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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