How to Teach Diversity in the Workplace

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How to Teach Diversity in the Workplace

Organizations or the workplace could be likened to a system with several components and elements which encompass both human and material resources. These elements are diverse in nature with varied backgrounds and beliefs but they come together to make the system work. The focal point of this article is the human resources.
Diversity comprises religious beliefs, gender, race, socio-economic status, age, sexual orientation, ethnic group, personality, cognitive abilities, education, political beliefs, background and job role, etc. this diversity brings in a lot of differences between employees in an organization.
With such diversity in the workplace, how does the management ensure that the employees exhibit the needed level of understanding to foster productivity and facilitate collaboration and cooperation in tasks given? How can the management harness such diversity to unleash the various talents and abilities of the employees for maximum productivity? How does management tackle diversity in the workplace to rid it of conflict and strife amongst employees? The subsequent paragraphs will answer the above questions raised.

  • The first step in understanding, teaching and managing diversity in the workplace is to understand and make the employees understand that acceptance and respect are key factors in managing workplace diversity for maximum productivity.
  • Management can organize training seminars to foster empathy and help employees see and appreciate the importance of workplace diversity. The seminars should enlighten the male workers on the acceptable behaviour towards their female co-workers and vice versa to avoid harassment and gender/racial discrimination.
  • Management can teach diversity in the workplace by pairing two or more employees with different background and orientation to perform a team task. This could be done under supervision to avoid cases of conflict and misunderstandings.  This will help the workers appreciate the uniqueness of each team member.
  • Management should encourage fairness to all employees in the organization and work groups. Be aware of the existence of personal biases and try to correct them as each employee has something important to offer to the organization.
  • When organising training seminars or sharing team tasks, encourage the active participation of all members of the team or participants. That way the workers will learn to appreciate and respect each other, knowing that despites the differences in background, belief or race, they all have things to offer for the growth of the organization.
  • Diversity could come in terms of the difference in age and generation of workers represented in the workplace. They could be the silent generation (born 1945 & earlier); the Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964); the Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); and the Generation Y known as the Millennial (born 1981 and later). Each generation grew up with diverse orientation as society changes hence they should be taught to understand that multiple generations foster creativity, most especially given that the target client base of the organization is a mixture of people from all age. They should understand that these cultural differences foster business relationships. For instance, Generation X and Y could collaborate with the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation to incorporate technological and advanced ways of executing tasks in the workplace. This broadens the service range as the organization is able to provide services on even a global basis.

• Every employee has strengths and limitations; it is a powerful combination of this diversity that will bring about maximum productivity and organizational growth. It builds a stronger and more competitive organization.

How to Teach Diversity in the Workplace

We can teach the following:

  1. Teach them how to work together.
  2. Teach them how to love one another.
  3. Teach them how to learn new skills.

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