With the European Diversity Month being around the corner (May 2022) we would like to address diversity in workplaces and the benefits of this diversity in a professional environment.
In the run-up to next month Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, promotes the following: “Societies are complex and require constant management to reduce polarization and conflict, while promoting a sense of community. Workplaces are no different. Good human relations need to be fostered, while division and discrimination must be addressed promptly. These conditions lead the building of strong teams able to work towards common goals.”
Diversity in the workplace means the acceptance and inclusion of employees of all backgrounds. A diverse workplace is an important asset, since it acknowledges the individual strengths of each employee and the potential they bring. Valuing the differences of others is what ultimately brings us all together and can be the secret to a successful, thriving workplace and a fair work culture. (Abilityoptions.au, 2022)
But… We’re all aware there are two sides to every coin. Diversity in the workplace leads to a plethora of benefits - both from an internal and external perspective. However, that doesn’t mean implementing diversity initiatives at work isn’t without its unique set of challenges.
In this article we’ll be discussing the benefits as well as the challenges of diversity in the workplace and how independent professionals or companies working with independent professionals stimulate diversity and inclusion.
1. Innovation vs design to implementation
- Diversity benefit: innovation: When you think about it, workplace diversity and innovation go hand-in-hand. The correlation makes sense. In a homogeneous group people have less differences. This leads to a common way of thinking with all noses in the same direction. “Sameness” does not lead to creative solutions. Differences can lead to a breakthrough.
- Challenge: design to implementation: It is one thing to provide a creative and/or diversity solution. It is another thing implementing this in a company. You can design the most thoughtful and detail-oriented diversity/innovation program. But if there’s nobody to carry that out, then it serves no purpose. That’s why you need to make sure you have the team, support, and resources in place to move your innovation initiatives from design to implementation.
→ Independent professional/IM: IM’s are placed in a company during a certain period of time. They do not wear the “company-DNA” and do not participate in the common way of thinking of an enterprise. They can provide a diverse way of thinking and/or can carry out diversity/innovation program without hesitation.
2. Wider talent pool vs too wide
- Diversity benefit: wider talent pool: If workplace diversity is included in a company, they open up a wider talent pool when searching for future employees.
Furthermore, job seekers nowadays are not looking for a 9 to 5 that pays well. They want to be challenged, be part of a bigger – more diverse – entity. Therefore, a company that embraces diversity is more attractive for employees, study shows.
- Challenge: too wide of a pool: A company deliberately searching for diversity has to access a wider talent pool. Being overly picky about traits that don’t matter will significantly decrease the number of people you can even consider. That’s why embracing diversity in background, thought, ethnicity, and other factors are key to finding good hires.
→ Company working with IM’s: Companies working with IM’s can look within a wider talent pool for their projects. They can be picky about what type of talent they need for a certain type of assignment.
The above are just two benefits and challenges of diversity and inclusion in a working environment. We can surely state that there are more benefits than challenges in the long run.
Nowadays it is of utter importance to exert diversity and inclusion within your company. No matter what layer, no matter what type of role. The use of an independent professional can give your company a head-start for helping with the implementation of diversity within your business.