Diversity in the workplace is not something new. In fact, it has been around for decades. A survey by CEB global in 2012 shown that 77% of executives strongly support diversity initiatives. Unfortunately, only 40% of employees surveyed felt like their organizations are truly diverse and inclusive. What makes the gap so big? I hope my article can give a clear answer.
The video that inspired us all
A Danish television channel, TV2, has published this video on the 27th of January, a week after the inauguration day of the new U.S president to send us a message about everyone’s identity.
The message was simple, we’re all different but maybe “there’s more that bring us together than we think”. And because of “All that we share”, let’s stop putting people in boxes
Should we look at workplace diversity differently?
From the perspective of organization and talent management, we have been so far defining diversity from a demographic level of age, race, ethnicity, gender, political or religious beliefs, etc. In short, organizations have always been seeing diversity by putting their talents in boxes.
Are those boxes enough to define workplace diversity? My answer is: NO. Employees are all human, and each of them has a different personality, different hobbies, habits, interests, emotions, etc which cannot be identified by demographic factors no matter which box(es) they are in.
A new approach to diversity at work? A study by Deloitte in 2013 suggested the idea of diversity in thought as a more powerful and nuanced kind of diversity. Because the different thoughts are all that matter to bring out workplaces forward. According to their study, diversity of thought can bring great benefits to the organization by:
- Guarding against groupthink and expert overconfidence
- Increasing the scale of new insights
- Identifying the right employees who can best tackle the most pressing problems
It’s easier said than done. Implementing diversity of thought could be harder than you think. It’s a process that requires organizations to have a deep level of understanding of all its employees. It starts from their way of thinking and their logic of behavior, which require a scientific approach of neuroscience, psychology and technology. Beside that, the entire organization needs to understand fully what diversity truly is about and take efforts to practice it from inside and outside the HR department.