Why Diversity in the Workplace Pays Dividends

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Credit: istockphoto.com/PeopleImages

Credit: istockphoto.com/PeopleImages

There is an adage in feminism: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” It implies that it takes women in positions of success to represent aspirational rode models to other women. This adage has equal merit in the context of diverse and inclusive work settings; culturally diverse individuals in the workplace as a norm indicate a climate of acceptance.

The art of embracing cultural diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategies in the workplace tends to be considered “too hard” for more organizations than it should. Not addressing diversity is simply bad for business. How and why we differ needs to be called out, discussed and taken on board. Concrete action toward a culturally diverse workplace doesn’t need to be based on confrontation, but rather, on decisive inclusion. Reaching this point, however, often means disrupting comfort zones and “the way things have always been done around here.”

The notion of providing an environment in which employees can bring their whole selves to work is gaining traction in an increasingly woke climate, in which employees’ ability to express their diverse identities are a facet of overall well-being. For example, I can’t check three facets of my identity at the door and only bring the rest of me to work. I am a person of color, female and Muslim, and I don a head covering. In a globalized community and a progressive workforce, I need to comfortably bring my whole self to work; otherwise, I will not perform optimally. I should not be required to assist others in negotiating any stereotypes or discomfort they may have about parts of my identity because of their world view.

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