Embracing Diversity At Work

Last week while at a conference in Washington, D.C., I rediscovered what a great city it is for many reasons.  This visit I noticed how diverse it is in culture, as each time I went into a store or restaurant I became acquainted with someone from other country or background.  I found each encounter so interesting and educational.

This experience prompted me to think about where I live and work and diversity in the workplace, especially my own.

I looked up the definition of “diversity”; the condition of having or being composed of differing elements; especially the inclusion of different types of people (as in races or cultures) in a group or organization.

I think my office qualifies based on the fact that we have men and women and three different generations working together with a couple of different ethnic backgrounds and cultural differences.

With further reading  about “diversity in the workplace” I found that there is more that goes along with being a diverse workplace than what is above, like the acceptance of any person that is different from those who are working together, either to work with or to serve.

In my research I came upon an interview with the author of None of us is as good as all of us: How McDonald’s Prospers by Embracing Inclusion and Diversity  by Patricia Sowell, which is excellent and worth taking the time to read. Just from reading the interview it will be my next purchase.

I came across the questions below that serve as a good guideline as to whether or not your workplace is supportive of diversity.

  1. Does your workplace employ a diverse range of people, age, religion, race?
  2. Does your workplace allow employees to celebrate their holidays appropriately?
  3. Does your workplace have proper access and work space to allow people with special abilities to enter and work at?
  4. Do you hear negative comments or racial jokes being allowed in your workplace?
  5. Do you have equal opportunities in your workplace;i.e, race, sex, etc?
  6. Are all people who work together listened to and heard equally?
  7. If your workplace is service oriented are all people treated equally by all staff members and owners?
  8. If you work in an all female or male workplace are there negative comments regarding the other sex that are allowed?
  9. Does your workplace allow comments regarding sexual preference?
  10. . Do you feel that you work in a place that diversity is looked at and accepted in a positive way?

If you can answer at least five of these questions “yes” then your workplace is pretty supportive to diversity.  It is understandable that many of us work in small towns with people who come from similar backgrounds, but the line is drawn when in the workplace there is an intolerance to work with or serve others because of their ethnic background, sexuality, religious or social status.

It is a good to take a good look at our workplace periodically to make sure we are keeping up with the changes and challenges in our rapidly changing world.

“There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity” ~ Michel de Montagne

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