Diversity is about More than Race

The idea of workplace diversity has been a huge talking point for years now. Unfortunately, too many people have a limited view of diversity, which is keeping the workplace from making the strides we need.

Diversity is about more than race - it is about a diversity of experiences and ideas. In reality, having a racial diverse and a gender equal workforce will help that a great deal. Why? Because the ideas that people from different backgrounds and experiences bring are the key to diversity.

What should a manager do to increase a diversity of ideas?

  • Stop hiring for "fit". Fit means they think the same. Find someone who doesn't fit, but can collaborate with the team.

  • Start hiring for "challenge". Bring in skilled people with different ideas and experiences. Tell them that you want them to challenge the team. Tell the team that you want them to accept the challenge to grow from the new ideas.

  • Stop focusing on people getting along. A diversity of ideas will cause some discomfort - that is ok. We are so conflict adverse that we end up losing the diversity of ideas.

  • Start teaching people how to have healthy conflict.

If managers can do this (and it is tough), the workforce will get more productive and more innovative because we will be bringing in diversity.