My Team is made up of very Diverse People - How can I Get them to Work Together Well?

Assess your Openness to Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunities

What is Diversity?

Workplace diversity is about creating an inclusive environment in which people's diverse skills, cultural perspectives, and backgrounds are valued. Diversity refers to the range of visible and non-visible differences that exist between people in terms of country of origin, age, gender, race, cultural heritage, sexual orientation, education, physical ability, first language and other factors. Our perspectives are shaped and formed by these characteristics. As a result, our approach to issues in the workplace can differ. Recognising differences ensures that we understand that one approach may not be appropriate for all. Appreciating diversity means being sensitive to the backgrounds of individuals and establishing a welcoming work environment for all. Valuing diversity involves treating individuals and groups, however they differ with respect and fairness, and harnessing these differences to the benefit of your business.

Employment equity is a critical component of workplace diversity. It describes a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment, and ensures that employment decisions are based on merit and that people are able to contribute to their full potential.

liabilities, and combating stereotypes and unfair prejudices before they become obstacles to team effectiveness. Managing diversity means using the differences in team members to reach goals, improving decision-making by taking into account different viewpoints, and challenging assumptions that undercut the team's potential.

What are the Benefits of Diversity?

Through valuing diversity, teams, your business and individuals can achieve better outcomes:

Connecting with the Customer

Better and more responsive services - A diverse workforce creates more opportunities to understand and satisfy the needs of a diverse community of customers.

Employee Motivation

Improved job satisfaction and commitment through greater opportunity for participation in decision making. Employees stay motivated longer and offer greater productivity when they are treated with dignity and respect.

Employee Innovation

The open, flexible and participative work environment most favourable for a diverse workforce also is most favorable for employee innovation. Improved performance and greater innovation arises through harnessing the creativity of a group of people with different ways of looking at things cooperatively.

Employee Recruitment and Retention

A workplace that demonstrates interest in workers as people first, then employees, can attract and retain a higher-quality workforce. By valuing every single employee, we improve the working environment for everyone.

Continuous Quality Improvement

A workplace where the talents and contributions of all employees are included, recognized and valued is needed for continuous quality improvement.

Teams have much to gain by accepting and learning from their colleagues' differences, rather than fighting them or blaming them for failures or shortfalls. This acceptance leads to more effective communication, which nurtures and supports continued employee, team and company success.

More than ever, successful organizations need employees with different backgrounds, beliefs, needs, lifestyles, and physical abilities. Failure to work together can destroy productivity and expose your business to expensive lawsuits, harassment and discrimination claims. Neither valuing diversity nor managing it can be done quickly or easily. Both require long-term planning and regular evaluation. But the rewards for such work, including a more comfortable and productive work environment for all employees, are significant enough to warrant the effort.

How can I Assist my Team to Value Diversity?

You need to create an environment where diversity is valued. Setting ground rules that ensure that team members:

Set up an opportunity in non-threatening environment for each team member to:

As the team leader, you need to display leadership in this area, by:

How can I Value Diversity in my Business?

Establish Management Commitment

Senior management commitment is required for any initiative to be successful. Without their commitment or demonstrated leadership, initiatives stall, fall substantially short of the expectation or just plain fail. Having a management team who is committed and consistent in their behaviour results in organisational change that is quicker, deeper and more sustainable. Management commitment is more likely to lead to:

You must work to actively help management discover and rediscover the value of EEO and Diversity. Talk to as many managers as possible and ask their opinions on EEO and Diversity. Ask what would help them be more involved and supportive of EEO and diversity programmes. Find out what they are most concerned about in their role. Find out what they consider to the indicators of their success. Then look at how EEO and diversity can meet their needs. Use specific, readable charts and graphs on areas that address their needs to communicate their value. You can obtain and keep management commitment by continually communicating how EEO and diversity programmes are meeting their needs.

Make sure to keep them informed - your management team needs to understand what is going on at all times.

Develop Awareness

Aim to build an improved awareness and understanding of workplace diversity by:

Review Systems, Policies and Procedures to Identify Barriers

Review and implement workplace arrangements, systems and procedures that promote diversity by:

Information Gathering and Analysis

Establish a clear picture of your staffing profile, practices and opportunities for improvement by:

Get in Touch with Jump

If you need help, or you answered no or unsure to any of the questions in the assessment tool, then Jump Business Solutions can help you. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email info@jump4biz.com and Jump will come to you, discover your needs, and develop a solution that will create real, long-term and positive change for you and your business.