Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender…) are more innovative than homogeneous groups,” writes Katherine W. Phillips in a Scientific American article.
To paraphrase, diversity is an asset.
However, diversity is not the end goal, but a means to a more inclusive, more just, and more effective workplace. It’s becoming increasingly clear that having a diverse team creates a better environment for workers and a better company overall, mainly because people with different backgrounds bring a new perspective and ultimately, new information. Having interactions with people who are different than you can give new insights to a challenge at hand.
Yes, this means understanding that reaching a consensus on a problem may take a bit of extra effort, but, in the end, the solution to the problem is most likely more innovative than one with less diverse input.
If your company (or the company you work for) isn’t as diverse as it could be, don’t be discouraged. Diversity in a company can’t happen overnight, but it’s important to get started creating a diverse culture. Starting small is a good idea. Don’t let the immense scope of things that need to be done keep you from doing nothing at all, even if you don’t know if you’re doing things exactly right. Because whether you are an employer or an employee, you can talk about diversity and inclusion forever, but taking action is the only way to change anything.
Reminds me of something my mom says, “Guess I’ll go do something…even if it ends up being wrong, at least I’m doing something.’
Lisa Petty, Editor
Equal Opportunity Employment Journal